Introduction to Boas

If you’re new to the world of boa constrictors you may not be aware that there are lots of different types of “boa constrictors”. Typically what you see in a pet store or on television is referred to as a “boa”, “boa constrictor”, or “red-tailed boa”. Chances are pretty good that in all these cases the boa in question is a Boa imperator, commonly shortened to BI in the reptile world. Without getting into too much detail, this species of boa constrictor is found throughout Central and South America and is the most common type of boa in the pet trade. There are a lot of other sub-species and locales of boas! True “red-tail boas” belong to the sub-species Boa Constrictor Constrictor (BCC) and generally have brick red-tails and get larger than BI’s. There is a fairly good breakdown of the boa species and sub-species here – Reptifiles – if you’re interested in learning more. Also just to note, up until a few years ago the Boa imperator was actually classified as a Boa Constrictor Imperator or BCI for short. Because this change is relatively recent it’s still very common to see Boa imperators referred to as BCI’s or Boa constrictor imperators.

Several years ago I saw my first blood boa morph and instantly fell in love. It look me a while but I eventually cultivated a very nice collection of Central American boas’s centered around the blood morph. Central American boas are still Boa imperators, so they’re they’re technically the same species as the boas above. However, boas in Central America evolved differently and are considered a “locale” type of boa. They’re much smaller in size than BI’s from South America and they often have very different patterns. Examples of Central American boa locales are Hogg Island, El Salvador (where the “blood morph originated”), Nicaraguan, and Costa Rica. There are others and each is considered to be it’s own “locale”, there are many breeders who specialize in breeding pure locale boas from each of these regions. Most of my blood boa project is comprised of pure Central American boas but I do have a couple that are mixed. The albino and jungle morphs for example do not happen in any of the Central American locales so in order to introduce that you have to mix in some Colombian genetics.

If I had more space I would absolutely have more sub-species of boas. Like I’d probably have all of them and all the locales. But space is limited and taking care of 20+ boas is already a lot of work for one person so I have to maintain some semblance of self control. Currently the only sub-species I own is a pair of Argentine Boas which are Boa constrictor occidentalis. Both of them were purchased from Ancient Reproductions who are super nice and wonderful breeders of Argentine Boas.