An Annulated Tree Boa found in the humid, tropical, lowland rain forest of Costa Rica.
Annulated Boa’s are rarely seen by humans due to the fact that they live high in the treetops (arboreal) and are active mainly at night (nocturnal). They have a strong prehensile tail which allows them to support themselves on a nearby branch and grab their prey, mostly birds and eggs, without being detected but that is not the coolest thing about this reptile.
What appears to be thin skin over teeth on this snake’s jaw are actually heat sensitive organs. They are able to create a thermal image of their prey or a predator through these sensors. This boa found during a night walk along our stream was only a meter off of the ground. There are many ground birds here so we suspect it was hunting for one. The Annulated Tree Boa is not a picky eater though. It could have been looking for any type of mammal. Boa’s will strike at their prey with their solid weight, bewilder it and then constrict it until it dies of asphyxiation. They are not venomous.
Masters of Camoflauge
Boas are able to change their color rapidly. They also have a gradual color change every time they shed their skin. They are able to blend into their surroundings making food gathering and self preservation easier. The skin is iridescent as well. Scientist don’t yet know what role iridescence plays in the natural world but believe it to be a way to attract potential mates and to ward off potential predators.
I would like to note that this was one of the most friendly, docile snakes. Like all of the reptiles and animals found and photographed here on the farm I put it back where it was found it so it can continue with its normal life.