Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Amazonic Tree Boa

Kichwa people from Ecuador's Amazon call the boas the wise men of the jungle.

They are mythic beings with wisdom of the ancients that can transform into humans and make men and women fall in love with them.

Amazonic Tree Boas are beautiful snakes.

They are not very large constrictor snakes, adult boas grow to an average of 5 and 6.5 feet (1.5–2 m) in length.

Their beauty comes from the immense variety of colors and patterns that the boas have.

The basic color can be anywhere from black, brown, or gray, to any shade of red, orange, yellow, or many colors in between.

Some boas are totally patternless, while others may be speckled, banded, or saddled with rhomboid or chevron shapes.
Their colors are very varied and some reds will have yellow patterns; some yellows red or orange patterns.

The Amazonic Tree Boas are found in South America in southern Colombia east of the Andes, southern Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Amazonian Brazil, Costa Rica Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago and Bolivia.

They are notorious for being very aggressive, although as with all snakes this varies.

The Amazonic Tree Boas also have very long needle-like teeth which makes their bite quite painful. 

Kichwas respect the boas very much but they are not afraid to handle them.

Many people catch boas from the wild and bring them to their homes and chakras (farms) because they are believed to bring good luck.
The children learn from young age to take care and play with the boas.

It is not uncommon to get a bite but that is just to show that you didn't know what you were doing.

These snakes tend to give some warning of being inclined to bite, and will usually give fairly gentle bites (which can still draw blood) unless they are given reason to give a full strike.

The aggressiveness is in part due to the species feeding cycle.

The snakes are night time hunters, so they are in hunting mode when they are most likely to be handled by an owner.

Being in a hunting mood and being that an owners hands are usually nice, hot and prey sized (Amazon Boas hunt mainly using their heat sensors) - people do get bitten, although as with most snakes, the animal will soon realize their mistake and let go, since they can recognize the smell of their owner.
It is uncommon for a constrictor snake that knows the person handling it to strike and constrict the person, as they would a food item, unless the snake is very agitated.

The Amazonic Tree Boas are quite slim and don't have the mass of some of their other constrictor cousins such as the terrestrial Python, Boa and Rat/Corn snake species.

Prospective owners however should be advised that while the snake is quite lightweight and gracile in comparison to some other species, it in no way means the Amazon Tree Boa is a weakling.

It is more than capable of resisting being moved by both using its strength to anchor itself to the local surroundings, and if agitated striking to defend itself.

Male snakes also have spurs under their tail by the vent (the bony remainder of the hips and back legs) and will flail their bodies to bring these into play.

The spurs are also used to assist in mating.
A good tip to protect oneself from bites is to wear gloves of some description over the hands, this can shield the heat of the hands and therefore the snake is less likely to strike since it doesn't have a hot target to aim for.

In Ecuador’s Amazonic area there is quite a lot folk lore about huge boas, over ten meters long.

Also boas are many times blamed for eating people, even adults.

In the folk lore they are told to be able to change their shape from boa to people.

The young people of tribe are often warned of falling in love to strangers found in the jungle or playing in the river.

Because these strangers might very well be boas in reality.
There is also lore that relates women to boas, because both have sinuous forms and the women move their hips like boas while dancing.

Many people have boas as pets, and they are thought to bring their owners good luck.

But you need to take care of your snake and make sure it won’t get angry at you, because the results of that anger can be desatrous.

It is good luck to have a boa living in your chakra, or farm, because it will guard it against evil and even stealing.

But you must respect the boa or it can make you a prisoner, getting you lost and making you walk in circles, so that you’ll never find your way out.

If angered a boa can call for a lightning and cause you bad luck for the rest of your life.


  1. What a beautiful creature! Loved learning about all the beliefs too! :)

  2. Fascinating. I cannot like them, but their role as purveyors of wisdom seems very universal among Amazonian tribes.

  3. Thank you for sharing and a very interesting read. Not sure I would be brave enough to hold a snake!

  4. Love your photographs very well taken! What camera do you use??

  5. Thank you for this - a fascinating post. My second son is currently snake obsessed and will enjoy reading it!

  6. That might not be large, but it seems it to me!

  7. Wow, I always learn something new from your posts. Thank you. It is amazing how totally different life is over there. I would be petrified, to be honest!

  8. What a well researched piece! I really enjoyed reading this, though I will leave the actual snake handling to you guys ;-)
    Love Vicky
    Around and Upside Down

  9. I cant stand snakes what a brave boy

  10. Lots of information here - I'm sure my son would like it but I really can't get to grips with the idea of holding snakes!

  11. Yyyeewww I hate snakes I wouldn't be brave enough to hold him :)

  12. Beautiful snake, and brave boys - I love a nice reptile but not everyone is so keen, spiders though are a whole different matter - yuck!

  13. Great post! I am terrified of snakes! Well done him!

  14. Oh wow! Really interesting post. Beautiful snake although I wouldn't be brave enough to hold him x

  15. Don't think I would want to anger a boa, whether or not it called for lightning!

  16. Great post! I'd never ever be able to hold a snake! x

  17. It's very interesting to learn about another culture's beliefs in relation to these reptiles. I don't think I could be as brave as all of those people handing the snakes in your photos though.

  18. hmmm... beautiful creatures but I am not sure I would hold it, I am too much of a coward :-(

  19. What beautiful creatures, not sure I would be brave enough to hold one though. x

  20. That slitterin thing is not a favorite. Respect those things but as pet, give me a horse, I love riding. Interesting read and brave young man.