The life cycle of a boa constrictor

Written by mary sharp
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The life cycle of a boa constrictor
Boa constrictors are large snakes found in Central and South America. (Getty Creative)

Boa Constrictors are very large, nonvenomous snakes native to parts of South America and Central America. Boa constrictors are usually tan or dark brown, though their skin can be a variety of other colours or patterns in order for them to blend into their environment.

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Mating

Boa constrictors can court for long periods of time, sometimes even weeks, before copulation occurs. The male boa constrictor will often climb on top of the female and squeeze her with his body. The male boa constrictor then injects sperm into the female boa constrictor. Female boa constrictors can retain the male boa constrictor's sperm in her body for several weeks before fertilisation occurs.

Eggs

Boa constrictors are ovoviviparous, meaning that the females produce eggs that remain within its body. The eggs stay inside the female for approximately 90 to 150 days. During this time, the female boa constrictor often eats very little food. The eggs then hatch, and the female boa constrictor gives birth to up to 60 baby snakes.

Babies

Baby boa constrictors usually measure about 60 cm (24 inches) when they emerge from their mothers. The female boa constrictor does not take care of her young. Instead, the baby snakes are left to fend for themselves.

Young

Because of their smaller size, younger boa constrictors often eat smaller prey than adults. Instead of larger birds and monkeys, young boa constrictors usually feed on rodents such as rats and mice, frogs and lizards. Boa constrictors do not reach sexual maturity until they are about two or three years old.

Adults

Adult boa constrictors can measure up to 4.6 metres (15 feet) in length, though most measure around 3.7 (12 feet) in length. Adult boa constrictors can also weigh close to 45 kg. Adult boa constrictors feed on animals such as monkeys, birds and pigs. In order to kill their prey, boa constrictors wrap themselves around the animal and squeeze until the animal can't breathe. Boa constrictors live for approximately 25 years.

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