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What Layer of the Amazon Rain Forest Do Boa Constrictors Live In?

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Although they can be found in a wide range of environments, one of the places in which boa constrictors live is the Amazon rain forest. Separated into four layers -- from the forest floor right up to the emergent layer -- the Amazon provides many types of habitat, which is why it has a lot of biodiversity. As semi-arboreal creatures, boa constrictors spend time in more than one layer of the rain forest.

About Boa Constrictors

While boa constrictors are often considered large and intimidating snakes, they're actually quite small in comparison to similar species. While they can grown to more than 13 feet, they usually measure between 6 1/2 and 10 feet long. Famed for squeezing -- or constricting -- their prey to death, they're not large enough to kill a human, so are generally considered a benign species. Generally solitary creatures, members of this species only come together to mate. Although mostly nocturnal or crepuscular, they will come out during the day to bask in the sun.

Layers of the Amazon

The Amazon rain forest is made up of four layers: the forest floor, the understory, the canopy and the emergent layer. Since the forest floor is shaded by the trees above, it's very dark and devoid of most vegetation. The understory gets some light, but not much. Plants in this layer tend to grown no more than 12 feet. The canopy is anywhere between 60 and 130 feet off the ground and is where the tops of most of the trees entwine to form a dense cover. Since there's plenty of food up here, it's home to a large variety of mammals, reptiles, insects and birds. The emergent layer is made up of the tallest trees that have grown taller than the canopy -- often as high as 200 feet. Some monkeys, insects and birds live up here, but it's less populated than the canopy.

To Tree, Or Not to Tree

Boa constrictors are semi-arboreal, which means they're equally at home in the trees and on the ground. At times, they can be found across all four layers of the Amazon rain forest. Juveniles are more arboreal than adults, and so are more likely to live up in the understory or the canopy. While adults spend some of their time in the trees, they often spend the day sleeping in burrows left behind by mammals, before dusk comes and it's time to hunt.

Feeding Frenzy

Being in the understory or the canopy of the Amazon is a good thing when it gets to dinnertime. Although some Amazon creatures live on the forest floor, many of the creatures boa constrictors like to feed on -- including birds, bats and other small mammals -- spend their time on the upper layers of the rain forest. These snakes are primarily ambush hunters, meaning they lie in wait for their prey to come to them. They often suspend themselves from branches and rapidly strike at prey as it enters their vicinity. They then constrict the prey to death before consuming it.