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Madagascar Tree Boa

Sanzinia madagascariensis

Madagascartreeboa Gallery

About the Madagascar Tree Boa


Geographic Range:


Class: Reptilia  
Order: Serpentes  
Family: Boidae  
Genus: Sanzinia
Species: madagascariensis

The Madagascar tree boa is a medium-sized constrictor that is primarily green to grayish-green in color. Despite its name, the tree boa only uses trees when hunting—it's actually less arboreal than most other boa types. It seeks prey using heat sensitive pits around its mouth that enable it to hunt for warm-blooded prey in complete darkness. Using its powerful coils, the boa tightly constricts its victims, cutting off blood flow to the heart and causing death.

Madagascar Tree Boa Facts


The Madagascar tree boa is a medium-sized constrictor that has two color variations, allowing the snake to camouflage in its environment. This species is primarily green to grayish-green in color and tends to be about two thirds of the size of the second "Mandarin" form, which is yellow, orange and brown. Unlike a hinged mammal jaw, boa jaws are detachable, allowing larger prey to be eaten more easily.


Length: Up to 2 meters


In the wild, Madagascar tree boas eat small mammals and birds. This nocturnal snake feeds on animals during the night. After consuming larger prey, boas don't need to eat again for weeks.


All boa species give birth to live young. The Madagascar tree boa usually gives birth to fewer than 12 offspring at a time. Gestation lasts for six months, after which the young emerge at just 25 centimeters long and are red in color. The young attain their adult colors gradually throughout their first year of life.


Although known as a "tree boa," this snake is only semi-arboreal, only using trees when hunting. Boas are constrictors, meaning they don't bite their food and aren't venomous. Using their powerful coils, boas constricts their victims. Once captured, the boa tightens its hold as its prey struggles, restricting blood flow to the heart and ultimately causing circulatory failure.


The Madagacsar tree boa lives in lowland tropical forests and dry forests, as well as humid upland forests throughout most of Madagascar, except the most south-westerly corner.