Madagascar Tree Boa
- Temperature, Humidity, & Lighting:
- In the wild, these snakes prey on small mammals.
- In captivity, they are fed mice.
Notes on Enrichment & Training
- Check out the Reptelligence Facebook page and Reptelligence website for enrichment and training inspiration.
- Advancing Herpetological Husbandry July 2018 Quarterly Newsletter- Article Environmental Enrichment for Reptiles By Charlotte James
Colony or Breeding Management
Notes species is housed or managed socially or for breeding purposes.
Dimorphism or practiced ways to individually mark species (such as those in colonies, like giant millipedes).
- Brandywine Zoo: During cool weather (under 65°F), supplemental heat is provided with a hot water bottle set to one side of the cooler. Wrap bottle with newspaper for lizards or snakes traveling with the bottle loose, to make cleanups easier in the case of defecation while traveling.
- Brandywine Zoo: reptiles travel in a Coleman style coolers that have been amended with extra ventilation holes on the lid (with a wood-burning tool). Small and medium sized snakes travel inside an inside-out, knotted pillowcase. Large snakes travel loose in the cooler that is also bungeed shut. For lizards, the cooler is lined with newspaper.
Tips on Presentation
Tips on Handling
- Snakes are an important link in the food chain. They provide food for many bird and mammal species that prey on them. The main diet of most snakes is rodents. Therefore, snakes provide a very valuable service – pest control. Most snakes are non-venomous and will avoid humans if they can. Venomous snakes want to use their venom to kill small prey animals or to defend themselves; since humans are too big to be considered prey by most snakes, the best way to avoid a bite is not to make the snake feel threatened. Ask guests to avoid any snakes they may see in the wild and appreciate them from a distance. http://www.capesnakeconservation.com/snake-conservation-whats-the-point/http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/rattlesnake_roundups/facts/rattlesnake_roundups.html
- One of the best ways for people to help the rainforest is to reduce their use of tropical woods. Many rainforest trees are felled each year for lumber, furniture, and other products that end up in countries all over the world. Much of tropical wood imported into the United States comes from South America, particularly the Amazon Rainforest. Flooring, musical instruments, picture frames and other products made of rosewood should be particularly avoided to slow deforestation on Madagascar and to avoid the extinction of endangered or vulnerable rosewood tree species from forests all around the equator. Ask guests to consider used or vintage furniture or new furniture made of wood that has been reclaimed from old structures. There are many alternatives to conventional lumber including flooring and other products made from fast-growing bamboo, and decking made of recycled plastic formed to look like wooden boards. http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/rainforest-threats/http://www.globaltrees.org/tp_d_nigra.htmhttp://www.rainforestrelief.org/What_to_Avoid_and_Alternatives/Rainforest_Wood/What_to_Avoid_What_to_Choose/By_Tree_Species/Tropical_Woods/R/Rosewood.html
Comments from the Rating System
Natural History Information
Range and Habitat
As the name suggests, this species is found in Madagascar. In the east, they inhabit tropical rainforests; in the west, they can be found in deciduous forests, and in the south, they live in semi-desert forests. They seem to be more abundant next to villages, where possibly it takes advantages from the presence of rodents, which constitute their main prey.
Madagascar tree boas are olive-green in coloration with brown spots. In lush eastern forests, the background coloration is usually bright green, while in the dryer western forests, the background coloration is brown. These snakes have vertical pupils. They can reach up to 8 feet in length, and weigh up to 10 pounds.
Sexual maturity is reached at 4 to 6 years of age. During the breeding season, September through December, the males engage in combat over the females. When pregnant, the female darkens in color considerably. Often, this is the very first sign that she is gravid. Her color will return to normal after she gives birth. After a gestation of 6 to 8 months, the female will bear 3 to 16 live young. Newborn boas average 6.5 inches in length and weigh about 1 ounce. The young are red in color when they are born; they change to adult coloration within 6 to 12 months of age.
In captivity, Madagascar tree boas can live 15 to 20 years.
Madagascar tree boas are nocturnal and mainly terrestrial – the common name is actually a misnomer; studies have shown that most of these snakes actually prefer to spend more of their active time on the ground. They will, however, bask in trees during the day.
Threats and Conservation Status
This species is threatened due to habitat destruction. Collection for the pet trade might also have an impact; these snakes can be difficult to to breed in captivity.
Did you know…
- The Malagasy name for this species is Manditra.
Any Documents to attach, species spotlights, etc.
- Check out sample animal policies, handling sheets, and fact sheets on our Example Policies & Guidelines page
- View past issues of Program Animal SAG Newsletters
- Ambassador Animal SAG Newsletter Vol. 2, Issue 3: Temperature and Transport: Welfare Implications for Ambassador Ectotherms
- Choice, Control, and Training in Ectotherms, By Carrie Kish
- Stress Management in Reptiles and Frogs
- Reptile Lighting Information
- Check out the Advancing Herpetological Husbandry Facebook group. They have also published several newsletters (see Reptiles page for links).
- See: AAH -January 2018 Quarterly Newsletter Article: Temperature and Heat for Reptiles By Roman Muryn
Contributors and Citations
- The Philadelphia Zoo
- Houston Zoo, Natural Encounters