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Madagascar Tree Boa

Range:

Throughout Madagascar

Habitat:

They live in forested areas near rivers, streams, ponds and swamps.

Characteristics:

At birth, tree boas are bright red and become green as they mature.  Although researchers are not sure why these snakes change colors, a possible theory is that the red color helps camouflage them among the flowers in the treetops.

Madagascar Tree Boa Click to View Bigger Picture
Behavior:

Unlike most snakes, the tree boa is active at night.  It spends a great deal of thime wrapped around tree branches using its prehensile tail to hold on.

Tree boas are constrictors, meaning that they use their teeth to catch their prey and then wrap their bodies around it and squeeze it so that they prey cannnot expand its lungs and suffocates.  The snake then unhinges its jaws and swallows the prey head first.  To help the constrictor to breathe, it has a special tube in the bottom of its mouth that allows air to travel to its lungs, while ingesting prey.

Madagascar Tree Boa Click to View Bigger Picture
Conservation:

Found only on the island of Madagascar, this snake species is endangered.  The expansion of farming and development has greatly reduced the forests where they make their home.  In fact, only 15 percent of the forest these snakes live in remain.

Did YOU Know?
The Malagasy word for madagascar tree boa is Mandritra
Madagascar Tree Boa
Range
Class: reptile
Order: Squamata
Family: Boidae
Genus: Sanzinia
Species: madagascariensis
Length: Up to 6 feet long
Wild Diet: Small mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building: Desert Zone


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