Do you like snakes? Here in the UK, we are not blessed with a large variety of snakes, perhaps luckily so. I wouldn’t want to be sitting out in the summer on the garden bench eating my ice-cream when a huge boa constrictor came slithering along for a lick (and a squeeze!).
Boa constrictors, the snakes, are found primarily in America so there’s little chance of seeing one in our country. However, they are also found in zoos across the world and private collections, so if one escapes…
Let’s find out some facts about boas.
- Boas are solitary snakes, only coming together to mate
- Females can give birth to up to 60 babies in one go – yikes!
- The babies are left to fend for themselves as soon as they are born
- Boas are not poisonous – but are still deadly
- They catch prey with their teeth, then squeeze it to death before eating it whole
- It can take up to 6 days for a boa to digest its meal
- A baby boa is around 2ft long and can grow to 13ft. It never stops growing
- Boas have excellent vision except when they are shedding their skin – their eyes become blue and opaque
- During this stage, they tend to stay still (sometimes for days) until their eyesight returns to normal
- The oldest captive boa lived to over 40 years and was called Popeye
Boas have appeared in numerous films over the years, most notably during the 1970s. However, if you watched The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett over Christmas, you will have spotted a particularly large boa who had escaped from a private reptile collection and was found in someone’s garden in Camden!
If you are a budding herpetologist or have an interest in snakes, then why not see if you can recognise the snakes in our picture quiz. Enjoy!