The Emerald Tree Boa is a 6 or 7 foot long emerald green tree dwelling snake species from tropical South American rain forests  They are born either vivid yellow or brick red and gradually change to green as they mature, the green may or may not be interspersed with a white banding. The belly is yellow. These snakes primarily hunt at night and prey in the wild mainly consists of bats and birds, they will wait outside a cave until the bats begin to emerge then strike out at bats that pass them, using the heat sensitive pits on their lips to locate them. They are known to live for between 12 and 20 years and are usually solitary and do not tolerate each other unless it is the breeding season when the male will immediately leave as soon as he has mated.

Emerald Tree Boa Vivarium

These are a predominantly arboreal species and as such would require an arboreal setup suitable for species such as chameleons. The ground footprint doesn’t really need to be large as they usually don’t descend to the ground. A 4 foot tall chameleon vivarium should suffice, the ideal dimensions should be 36 inches wide by 18 inches deep and 48 inches tall. Ventilation is important as this species likes it humid and the air should not be allowed to stagnate as this would cause painful welts on the snakes body. Mist this species regularly, 2 or 3 times a day is best. Water is difficult as they usually only drink from rainwater cascading down the tree trunks. To combat this you should incorporate a shelf and place upon it a waterfall system such as the 1 available from Hagen (exo terra repti rapids) so there is a constant supply of running water elevated. Substrate can be beech chips, orchid bark vermiculite or peat compost mix, but if using compost you should include a woodlouse or spirngtail culture to keep the mould at bay. Humidity should be kept high, ideally in the seventies or eighties. A heat bulb should be provided, but kept covered by a cage to avoid the occupant hurting itself. Heat the bulb to 40 degrees Celsius and heat the general ambient temperature of the vivarium to 30 degrees Celsius regulated by means of a thermostat. Decor should include sturdy branches as thick as the snake and some fake plants to provide visual barriers.

Emerald Tree Boa Feeding

The Emerald Tree Boa primarily preys on flying prey such as bats and birds, as you can’t provide bats in captivity hatchling chicks can be offered. Feed smaller meals as large meals cause regurgitation. I would recommend feeding one or two hatchling  chicks twice weekly with a vitamin supplement included. Keep an eye on the weight of your snake and adjust the diet accordingly. Hatchlings and smaller individuals usually feed on frogs and lizards but can be tempted to take pinkie mice with special ‘lizard maker’ scent sprays available from any good reptile stockist.

These are a bad tempered species and should not be handled.