The boa constrictor is a large snake species in the family Boidae. It, along with the pythons, are the best known large constrictor (meaning non-venomous) snakes to North Americans and Europeans. While they grow to be quite large and heavy bodied, neonates hatch between 12 to 24 inches. The grow rapidly to a total length of 5 to 10 feet, with some exceptional individuals exceeding 14 feet. They are rodent specialists, but will also eat birds and small lizards when young.

There are a number of subspecies of boa constrictors (Boa constrictor, and they have remarkably different colouration and natural history. The recognized subspecies (with their specific ranges) are:

Bo"a con*strict"or (?). [NL. See Boa, and Constrictor.] Zool.

A large and powerful serpent of tropical America, sometimes twenty or thirty feet long. See Illustration in Appendix.

⇒ It has a succession of spots, alternately black and yellow, extending along the back. It kills its prey by constriction. The name is also loosely applied to other large serpents which crush their prey, particularly to those of the genus Python, found in Asia and Africa.


© Webster 1913.

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