Staying alive in the wild is all about survival of the fittest, whether you're a snake, bear or insect. Emerald tree boas (Corallus caninus) certainly aren't exempt to this rule, having physical adaptations that help them in essential behaviors like tree climbing and biting into prey animals.
Emerald tree boas are arboreal creatures that spend the bulk of their time up in trees. It isn't uncommon for them to remain in trees for their whole lifetimes. Their sturdy bodies are conveniently flattened from the sides. This helpful shape enables them to keep their bodies right up against branches when they're climbing trees. These nonvenomous and independent reptiles are also equipped with prehensile tails that assist them in reliably parking their bodies on their desired branches. Their tails are beneficial for picking items up too.
Emerald tree boas possess some of the lengthiest teeth of any snake. Their front teeth are so mighty that they actually can cut straight through birds' plumage, making it easy to seize and hold on to these prey animals. Their teeth often can retrieve birds that are flying.
Tracking Down Heat
The scales that surround emerald tree boas' mouths feature handy pits that are capable of picking up on the heat given off by their prey. These pits are situated just above their top lips. These flesh-eating snakes eat a lot of tiny mammals, especially squirrels and rodents. Birds are also big emerald tree boa favorites.
Emerald tree boas do all their searching for food during the night, when it's pitch black out. They have vertical pupils, like cats. When it's dark, their pupils increase drastically in size. This adaptation allows emerald tree boas to receive significantly greater amounts of light—and therefore makes hunting for sustenance a much easier task.
Emerald Tree Boa Identification
Identifying emerald tree boas usually is pretty easy. Their bodies are a vivid green, after all. When they're young, however, that isn't the case. The youngsters can appear in a wide array of colors, from orange and crimson to a combination of both. Some juvenile emerald tree boas are even brown or a blend of orange, red and green. Mature specimens sometimes grow to over 7 feet long.
- Jacksonville Zoo: Boa, Emerald Tree
- Smithsonian National Zoological Park: Emerald Tree Boa Fact Sheets
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Corallus caninus
- Central Park Zoo: Emerald Tree Boa
- Miami Metro Zoo: The Emerald Tree Boa
- Seneca Park Zoo: Emerald Tree Boa
- Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo: Emerald Tree Boa