Corallus hortulanus

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Corallus hortulanus
Cook's tree boa (Corallus hortulanus).jpg
In the Caroni Swamp, Trinidad
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Boidae
Genus: Corallus
C. hortulanus
Binomial name
Corallus hortulanus
  • Coluber hortulanus Linnaeus, 1754
  • [Boa] Hortulana Linnaeus, 1758
  • [Boa] Enydris Linnaeus, 1758
  • Boa hortulana Linnaeus, 1766
  • Vipera bitis Laurenti, 1768
  • Vipera madarensis Laurenti, 1768
  • [Coluber] madarensis Gmelin, 1788
  • [Coluber] Bitis Gmelin, 1788
  • Boa Merremii Sentzen, 1796
  • Boa Ambleocephala Donndorff, 1798
  • Boa Merremi Schneider, 1801
  • Boa obtusiceps Bechstein, 1802
  • Boa elegans Daudin, 1803
  • Corallus obtusirostris Daudin, 1803
  • Xiphostoma ornatum Wagler, 1824
  • Xiphostoma dorsuale - Wagler, 1824
  • X[iphosoma]. hortulanum Fitzinger, 1826
  • [Xiphosoma] Merremii Wagler, 1830
  • Boa modesta Reuss, 1830
  • Boa hortulana Schlegel, 1837
  • Corallus maculatus Gray, 1842
  • Corallus hortulanus Gray, 1842
  • Xiphosoma hortulanum A.M.C. Duméril & Bibron, 1844
  • Corallus hortulanus Boulenger, 1893
  • Boa hortulana Ihering, 1911
  • Boa hortulana Griffin, 1916
  • Boa enydris enydris Stull, 1935
  • Corallus enydris Forcart, 1951
  • Corallus enydris enydris Forcart, 1951
  • Corallus hortulanus hortulanus Roze, 1966
  • Corallus enydris Henderson, 1993
  • Corallus hortulanus McDiarmid, Touré & Savage, 1996[2]
Common names: Amazon tree boa, macabrel, Cook's tree boa, common tree boa,[3] garden tree boa.[4]

Corallus hortulanus is a non-venomous boa species found in South America. No subspecies are currently recognized.[3]


Adults grow to an average of 5 and 6.5 feet (1.5–2 m) in length.[5] This species exhibits an immense variety of colors and patterns. The basic color can be anywhere from black, brown, or gray, to any shade of red, orange, yellow, or many colors in between[citation needed]. Some are totally patternless, while others may be speckled, banded, or saddled with rhomboid or chevron shapes. Some reds will have yellow patterns, some yellows red or orange patterns. Generally, there are two color 'phases' that are genetically inherited, but are not ontogenic as with the emerald tree boa,C. caninus and the green tree python, Morelia viridis. The 'garden phase' refers to boas with drab coloration, mostly brown or olive, with varied patterning, while the 'colored phase' refers to animals with combinations of red, orange, and yellow coloring.

Geographic range[edit]

Found in South America in southern Colombia east of the Andes, southern Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Amazonian Brazil, Costa Rica Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. The type locality given is "America."[2]

Typically found below 300 m elevation.


These animals are notorious for being very aggressive, although as with all snakes this varies. These animals also have very long needle-like teeth which makes their bite quite painful. However 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.

A more preliminary attempt to dissuade a potential attacker, a tree boa will whip its tail and release a foul smelling liquid that is difficult to remove. This is a similar tactic seen in different animals from skunks to insects.

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.

These snakes 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NatureServe (2013). "Corallus hortulanus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  3. ^ a b "Corallus hortulanus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 14 July 2008.
  4. ^ Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  5. ^ Burnie D, Wilson DE. 2001. Animal. Dorling Kindersley. 624 pp. ISBN 0-7894-7764-5.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]