Boas are members of the Boidae familiy of snakes. These are split into two subfamilies, Boinae (True Boas) and Erycinae (Old World Sand Boas). The Boinae in turn comprise 28 currently recognised species. This page lists some of the boa species most commonly kept by reptile enthusiasts. Click the names for more information on the different types of boa.
Boa Constrictor (Boa Constrictor)
Boa Constrictor is unusual in the fact that the common name and scientific name is the same. It is also one of the best known, and most widely kept snakes. There are currently 10 recognised subspecies including the Common Boa Imperator (BCI) and Red Tailed Boa (BCC). These snakes do very well in captivity and make excellent pets for experienced keepers.
Dumeril’s Boa (Boa Dumerili)
The Dumeril’s Boa is found in the wild on Madagascar and Reunion Island. They are a little smaller than the Boa Constrictor, and have a similar but distinctly different and quite attractive pattern of markings. While not quite as easy to care for as common boas, they still do very well in captivity. They are a CITES protected species.
Madagascan Ground Boa (Boa Madagascariensis)
Found only on Madagascar as the name suggests, this is a large snake which can grow up to 10 feet in length, and is the largest of the Madagascan species. This is a CITES protected species so when they are available to purchase (and they can be captive bred successfully) they require paperwork which makes them expensive and certainly not suitable for a first snake.
Madagascan Tree Boa (Boa Manditra)
Considerably smaller than Boa Madagascariensis, this snake has 2 colour variations being green/grey from the east of the island, and yellow/orange/brown to the west. Another CITES species means these are only available if captive bred and should only be bought/sold with the correct paperwork. These are beautiful snakes which are sadly threatened in the wild but are bred quite well in captivity.
Kenyan Sand Boa (Erycinae Eryx Gongylophis )
The East African sand boas (Kenyan and Egyptian sand boas) are small terrestrial snakes with large females only growing to around 30 inches. They make exceptionally good “first boas” or childrens pets due to their size, hardiness, and relatively odest care requirement.
Brazilian Rainbow Boa (Epicrates Canchria)
The Rainbow Boa are a beautiful species with an iridescent sheen giving them their name. Typically 3.5 to 6.5 feet in length. They have quite specific humidity and heat requirements making them suitable only for intermediate to experienced snake keepers. Young snakes can be quite snappy but they tend to calm down with age and regular handling.
Emerald Tree Boa (Corallus Caninus)
One of the most beautiful of all snakes in my opinion, the Emerald Tree Boa, as the name suggests, is a bright green aboreal species. These are not a snake for beginners. Due to their demanding housing requirements, and feeding behaviour, only experienced snake keepers should consider these snakes.
Rosy Boa (Lichanura Trivirgata)
One of the smaller boa species, the rosy boa are easily managed, docile by nature, and tolerant to handling making them great pets and an excellent choice for a first boa, or anyone who wants a small snake.