Red-tailed boas originate from tropical Central and South America, ranging from Brazil and Columbia north through the country of Mexico. They are commonly found in woodlands, semi-arid forests, and tropical rain forests.
These snakes have brown and gray scales that are adorned with brownish black oval patches that become increasingly red towards the base of the tail. They prefer to spend their days in hollow logs and abandoned mammal burrows, or hanging on low branches Boas are nocturnal and spend their nights hunting their prey. As carnivores, they will eat rats, mice, amphibians, snakes, birds, eggs, and small mammals. Snakes typically don’t need to eat every day and can go up to a month depending on the size of their last meal. They kill their prey by constricting, or squeezing, the animal until it suffocates then eats it whole.
Red-tailed boas are very popular as pets. If you are considering a snake, remember that boa constrictors can grow rapidly and reach lengths from 6-10 feet. The boas at SciWorks eat large rats a few times a month. Despite the fact that the rats have been frozen and thawed, the snakes still go through the process of constricting their food before consuming them. Pandora and Elvis were both donated to the museum from private individuals in the community.