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The boa imperator or boa constrictor imperator is a Central American snake species that is a subspecies of the boa constrictor snake. The animal is seen commonly in captivity. The common name of this snake is Colombian boa. But it is also referred to as the northern boa, common northern boa, and red-tailed boa. It gets its name from its method of killing its prey – by constriction. Boa constrictors are nocturnal predators that ambush the prey at night and swallow them whole. The snake is not very dangerous to humans as they are calm in nature and adjust to life inside a cage quite comfortably. They require some heat and humidity to adjust in the cage. The females are larger than the males. They are found in a wide range of habitats including grasslands and desert islands. Largely terrestrial, the boas are arboreal to some degree especially when they are young. People often confuse the boa constrictor imperator with other boa constrictor subspecies.
The boa imperator, or boa constrictor imperator, is a non-venomous snake that belongs to the family Boidae and genus Boa. It is a subspecies of the boa constrictor family.
Like any other snake, the Boa constrictor imperator belongs to the Reptilia class of the Animalia kingdom.
Not much data is there about the exact number of the Boa constrictor in the world. A study of Boa constrictors of this species in Honduras estimated the population to be 632 in that region. The numbers have gone down lately due to overcollection by people who keep these boas as pets.
Boa constrictor imperators are native to Central and South America. The vast majority of the snake is found in Colombia and hence it is also called the Colombian boa. You can find Boa constrictors in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, and even in Belize. Not only on the mainland but the snake can also be found in some islands as well like Honduras and Cayos Cochinos. You may find Boa imperators in northern America but they are mostly kept by people as pets.
Boa constrictors of this subspecies are found in a wide range of places. Tropical rainforest clearings and tropical islands are the favorite habitats of these boas. The presence of humans has forced them to inhabit cultivated fields and even suburbs. You might even encounter boa constrictors inside caves where the snake goes in search of bats for eating. The habitat of some populations of them is found in lowland deciduous forests. Grasslands and lands full of savanna also constitute habitats of boa constrictors. The boas can also be spotted in semi-arid and desert areas.
Boa constrictor imperators are solitary animals who prefer to live on their own without interacting with any other boas. They only come into contact with other boa constrictors during mating season.
There has been much debate among scientists about the lifespan of bao constrictors of the imperator subspecies. The maximum age of the snake that has been recorded is of 40 years which was bred in the cage. The average lifespan in the wild ranges between 20-30 years.
The Boa constrictor imperator is an ovoviviparous snake and it gives birth to as many as 12-64 neonates at a time. The sexual maturity of males occurs very early after only three months from their birth but the females mature at a much later stage of their life, at about three years of age. The males do not interact with the females except when it wants to mate. But they have to invest energy to locate the females. The breeding season of most Boa constrictors takes place during the dry months between April and August. The gestation period ranges between five to eight months. The neonates are fully developed at birth and become independent soon after their birth. The young boas have a tendency to spend most of their time in trees. As their size grows and they become heavy, the snakes are seen to utilize their time on the ground.
According to data collected from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Boa constrictor imperators are a species of Least Concern with a stable population trend. The distribution of the boas is widespread across Central America and there is no evidence it the reduction of its population. A major threat to the boas comes from the pet trade and from poachers who kill them for their skin.
The boa imperator, or boa constrictor imperator, is a large species of snake. The colors are of a wide variety and can be brown, black, gray with patterns on the body. The males differ from the females by the presence of two large spurs on the side of the cloaca and they also have a longer tail. A dark stripe can be seen extending on boa constrictors from the top of their eye towards the snout and the stripe also extends towards the jaw diagonally. Reddish dorsal botches can be seen on their entire body including their tail. The young snakelets are brightly colored that become darker as they mature. Some island populations of the snakes in Belize have larger eyes and longer heads than mainland populations. The male island boa constrictors have longer tails than mainland boa constrictors.
Many small snakes have a cuteness quotient but the boa constrictor imperator is not cute in the traditional concept. It is quite large in size and pretty intimidating. People who keep the boas as pets might find them cute though but it is not natural for everybody. However, the young neonates are really cute.
Since the Boa constrictors are solitary creatures, there is no need for any sort of communication except during mating season. The females are scattered over a large area and the males have to locate them. The boas do not have any external ear but they have an acute sense of vibration. They can sense even the tiniest movements around them. They can detect the source of a specific smell through their split tongues.
The boa constrictor imperator size falls in the range of 3.28-13.12 ft (1-4 m). The females are larger than the males. Compared to the green anaconda, this snake looks like a dwarf species.
The Boa imperators are not very fast snakes. Similar to other Boa constrictors, they can move about 1 mph (1.6 kph) on the ground. There is not much need to travel quickly. They are good swimmers but rarely will you find any of them in the water. They prefer to stay in trees.
The average weight of a boa imperator is about 100 lb (45 kg). The boas are quite heavy and if you compare them with other snakes like the king cobra that weighs 13.2 lb (6 kg), the boa constrictor imperator is seven times heavier.
The male and the female snakes have no distinct names.
Similar to all other snakes, the young boa constrictor imperators are called neonates or snakelets.
The boa imperator is strictly a natural carnivorous reptile. The diet is wide-ranged and includes animals like iguanas, various mammals like deer, monkeys, raccoons, dogs, and many others. They prey on bats by creeping into their caves. As it grows larger with age, it begins to use larger animals as food sources. The boa constrictors are nocturnal ambush predators in the wild that constrict their prey and swallow them whole.
The boa imperator is not a venomous animal. It can bite and the bite can be painful. But the bite is not dangerous. It kills its prey by constricting or squeezing them until they suffocate.
The boa imperator is very commonly kept in captivity. Large populations of snakes are captured for the pet trade. The calm nature of the snake along with the wide range of colors and patterns make this animal popular as a pet. The boa constrictor imperator maintenance requires humidity of about 70%. The lifespan in captivity is greatly depending on the heat and food that is provided to it.
The longest boa constrictor was found to be 40 ft (12.1 m) long and was bred in a cage.
The animal is a popular reptile for keeping in a cage due to its calm disposition.
Most boa imperators are not strong enough to kill human beings but if threatened, these snakes can kill by constricting.
No, the skin of the boa constrictors is not slimy at all!
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our copperhead snake facts and green anaconda facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring one of our free printable sea snake coloring pages.
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