Scientific Name: Boa constrictor
Despite its reputation, the boa constrictor rarely exceeds three metres in length, although there are records of specimens over five metres. There are wide variations of patterns and colour, with several recognised subspecies. Most have an attractive pattern of dark brown or black bands or reticulations over a light brown background. The tail is often more brightly coloured, especially in juvenile snakes. The top of the broad, triangular head is often divided down the middle by a thin dark brown marking.
The boa constrictor inhabits the tropical parts of America, from Mexico south to Argentina. There are also forms found on some of the Caribbean islands. Although they are often thought of as being 'jungle' snakes, their actual range is quite wide, utilising woodland, rocky outcrops and even semi-desert environments as well as the more traditional tropical rainforest.
Mammals and birds make up the bulk of the diet. Items as large as medium-sized monkeys may be taken, after which the snake will crawl into a hollow log or disused burrow and spend the next few weeks digesting the meal.
Unlike pythons, all boas give birth to live young. Up to 50 may be produced in one litter.