Boa Constrictors: Habitat & Life Cycle

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

The boa constrictor is commonly known because it's a popular pet. They're often depicted as the evil, angry predator in movies (alongside the anaconda who is also a type of boa). In this lesson you will learn about their habitat and lifecycle.


The boa constrictor is a reptile that belongs to the Boidae family. They are known as one of the larger of the boas. They're actually not the largest but quite average sized for their family. The biggest one found was around 18 feet in length. They average around 8-10 feet depending on the region. The largest of the boas is the anaconda, which is also the most famous.

Females are larger in size. Aptly named, they kill their prey by constricting (squeezing) them. They are not venomous. They also don't have the signature double fangs that we see in most snakes. They have teeth along their jaws that they frequently replace.

Boa constrictors are easy to identify. They have triangle shaped heads. Their bodies are a light shade of brown with dark brown and black ''saddle-shaped'' bands from their heads to their tails. They are nocturnal (awake at night).

Adult Boa Constrictor
Danger noodle


Boa constrictors prefer tropical (warm and wet) regions. They are distributed from Mexico through Central America all the way to most of South America. They can be found in flat grasslands, shrub lands, rainforests, woodlands, agricultural fields and river banks. They can be arboreal (living in trees) especially when younger and can also swim very well. They usually prefer to hide during the day and come out to feed at night but have been spotted sun bathing on occasion.

They are totally carnivorous (eating animals). They feed on birds, bats, rodents, monkeys and even pigs. They can be found in burrows or hollowed out logs of wood. Their range of elevation is 0-1000 meters. They are solitary and are protective of their territories from other snakes. They have very good sight and can identify vibrations with their bodies. They also possess a vomeronasal organ which is what they use to 'taste' the air. The organ helps detect chemical changes in the air, which is why it is a chemosensory organ. When we see a snake flicking its tongue about, this is why they are doing it.

Distribution of the Boa Constrictor

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