Geographical Range Tropical South America
Habitat Forests, stream banks, croplands
Scientific Name Boa constrictor constrictor
Conservation Status Not listed by IUCN

This moderately-sized boa is popular in the pet trade. That's probably because of its attractive patterning, and the fact that it grows only six to nine feet long. Some other types of boas can grow as long as 15 feet!

In the wild, the red-tailed boa lives in a wide range of habitats, from high cloud forests to dry low lands. It is also frequently found near human settlements, where it preys on the rats and mice that often accompany populated areas. (Many people keep them as pets for just this purpose.) The red-tailed boa also feeds on other small mammals, amphibians, lizards, other snakes and birds.

Like other boa constrictors, this snake kills its prey by squeezing it with its powerful coils until the victim can no longer breathe. Then it swallows its meal whole, head-first. After eating a large animal, the boa doesn't need to eat again for a long time, and may rests for weeks.

Boas are primarily active at night, or at dawn and dusk. They give birth to live young.