Boa (Brazilian rainbow)

Epicrates cenchria cenchria

IUCN Red List status: Least Concern

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Least Concern


Where they live

South America across much of the northern part of the continent


humid forests and some times open savannah





20 years


Some threat from collection from the pet trade but this has been controlled since the 1980s

Did you know...

  • They are called a rainbow boas because of the iridescent sheen refracted by the scales
  • The refraction of light is caused by microscopic ridges on the surface of the scales which act like prisms

More about rainbow boas...

The rainbow boa is a ground dwelling snake which prefers to live at the edges of forests and rocky areas. They are active at dawn and dusk, an activity pattern referred to as crepuscular. They are ambushers and constrictors and feed on a range of small mammals birds and lizards.

Like the majority of boas the females give birth to live young, usually about 12-15 in number although litters of 35 have been recorded. The young snakes are born about sixth months after mating and start to feed when they are 10 days old. They are 38-50 cm long at birth, reaching 1.2m in the first year, with females growing larger than males.

Like many snakes boas have relatively poor eyesight and rely on their sense of taste and smell to analyse their surroundings. The tongue flicks in and out of the mouth and collects small airborne particles which are analysed by Jacobsen’s organ which is located in the roof of the mouth.

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