The Amazon Tree Boa, (Corallus hortulana)

Updated: Oct 19, 2020

The Madre de Dios Region of the Amazon Rainforest is home to over 50 species of snakes, including the beautiful Amazon Tree Boa (Corallus hortulana). The Amazon Tree Boas are typically found in the canopy of high humidity locations, making the Amazon Rainforest the perfect habitat, but that is not always the case. This species has also been found in the tropical savannas and drier areas surrounding the forest. This is a quite common species in our area, making photographic opportunities endless on Untamed Photography’s workshops, tours, and internship program. While the Amazon Tree Boa is listed as least concerned on the IUCN Redlist, the species does risk population decrease in the wild due to deforestation and the demand to have them as pets around the world.

This species is most commonly known for its array of colours. The Amazon Tree Boa can be anywhere from black, brown, or grey, to red, orange, or yellow and just about any colour in between. Generally, each snake will have two distinctive colours, those of which will camouflage them into their surroundings to avoid predators. Amazon Tree Boas tend to be darker as juveniles and fade into a lighter, more subtle colour as they transform into adulthood.

Being an arboreal (tree dwelling) species, the Amazon Tree Boa has an incredibly unique tail, similar to those of spider monkeys and howler monkeys. This prehensile tail is so strong that the Amazon Tree Boa can hang by just its tail, dangling the front half of its body in a s-shape while hunting, giving it the extra reach it needs for striking its prey. The Amazon Tree Boa is an ambush hunter, meaning that it does not go out looking for its next meal, it sits and waits for its meal to come to it. This species has heat sensors, known as pits, to help them hunt at night, but also possess great eye site to hunt during the day as well. Juveniles typically predate on small lizards and frogs, while adults feed mostly on rodents, small mammals, bats, birds, and marsupials.

Breading season for this species, among many other species of snake in the Amazon Rainforest comes just once a year. The Amazon Tree Boa’s breading season is between the months of March and May. They are ovoviviparous, meaning they have evolved to have the capability of livebirth. Female ovulation begins weeks after copulation, beginning the gestation period that will last 6-8 months. During this gestation period, the female will spend as much time as possible basking in the sun, using her body as an incubation system. She will give birth to her 6-12 neonate or snakelets and leave them. The snakelets are immediately independent. They will shed their first layer of skin within the first two weeks of life. They will reach sexual maturity after three years and will go on to live a total lifespan of up to 20 years.

Due to the dense population in the Madre de Dios Region of Peru, Untamed Photography comes across this species more than any other snake in the area. With the uniqueness of every individual, each photographic experience will be completely different than the one before. The variety of colours of the Amazon Tree Boas, makes photographing these snakes truly fascinating and you will have the opportunity add some vibrant colour to your Amazon Rainforest portfolio during our Wild Tambopata Photography Workshop/Tour.