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800px-Boa c.i.jpg
Scientific Classification

Subfamily: Boinae

Subfamily: Erycinae

Subfamily: Pythoninae

Boidae is a taxonomic family of constrictors in the kingdom Animalia. The type genus is the Boa. Boas give birth to live young and are one of the biggest snakes in the world. Varieties, such as the Anaconda, can weigh upwards of 1000 lb.


Boas are a medium sized to extremely large snake, and males are usually smaller then the females. They can range in size from 2m to 3m (6 to 10 feet) long and weigh about 27kg (60 pounds).[1] Boas range in color from bright red, yellow, to a dark gray and even brown. Keepers can control the weight and size of boa constrictors by their feeding schedule. The largest boas in captivity are probably overfed and somewhat unhealthy[2]


Members of the family Boidae reproduce sexually. Mating begins in the spring when it is warm, and the males are very aggressive. During the mating season two males will battle each other when they come in contact with each other over a female.

The mating process first takes place when a male finds a female. The male will place his head on her back twist his tail around hers and then attempt to copulate. But most of the time the female will just move away, and because of this it can take hours and sometimes days of repeated advances.

The male’s sexual organs consist of two penises. The two penises are covered with spines so that when ever he inserts his penises within the female they will help the penises stay inserted. The mating phase can last up to a couple of days.

The female can lay up to 50 eggs but will normally lay 2-16 at a time. Boas will usually build nests or burrows and lay eggs but the female snake will rarely stay and watch over her young. If they do stay and watch over their young, the female will coil around her eggs and produce heat by contracting her muscles.

A newborn snake will look completely the same as its parents but in a scaled down version and with a bigger head to its body. Some male snakes will mature at an earlier age of 9 months but usually a male snake will reach maturity in two years. A female will take a little longer, usually reaching maturity around 2.5 to 3 years of age.


Boidae Distribution

Family Boidae inhabits a very large range of habitats. They live in Madagascar, southwest pacific, Africa, Australia, and Asia east Africa India. Boas are a nocturnal hunters. The Boid diet consists mostly of birds, rodents and small mammals, but some of the larger species of snakes will eat animals up to a size of a large dog. When the snake is younger it will climb up trees and find eggs of nesting birds. Boidae kill their prey by camouflaging themselves in their surroundings and then waiting until a animal comes by. They will lash out and snag their prey with their teeth and then start to constrict the life out of their prey. Most of the time they will crush the bones of their prey.


Related References

  1. Animals - Boa Constrictor Sea World. Accessed 21 August 2010.
  2. The Size of Boa Constrictor Accessed 21 August 2010