The boa constrictor is an amazingly interesting cold-blooded reptile found in many warm regions around the world. Its main adaptation to its surroundings is its ability to blend into the trees almost effortlessly.
They have a number of other adaptations that make them fearsome opponents. These carnivores eat just about anything that moves, birds, young crocodiles, young mammals, and even humans, if they are unlucky enough.
The boas feeding habits are unique, in that it first suffocates (or constricts the breathing of) its prey, breaking the bones in the body, and then swallows the animal whole. The boa’s big wide jaws make this job even easier. This is how he gets his name the ‘boa constrictor’.
Boas are huge, growing to anything between 6 to 15 feet in length. This length serves them well in allowing them to blend into their surroundings, to easily ambush their unsuspecting prey, and to climb trees to sometimes get their prey.
Although the boa is not a very good swimmer, he stays on both land and sea with almost equal comfort. On land, he spends most of his time in canopies and tree holes. All these places give him easy access to unsuspecting prey.
The boa constrictor’s amazing ability of blending into its habitat, resembling sun kissed branches of trees; make him very difficult to spot. Most prey are unable to say the difference, and often walk right past him, where he easily ambushes them.
He is also gifted with a bunch of special sensors just below his lip, which alert him of warm-blooded preys.
He has sharp teeth that help him during struggles with prey, and a special tooth that helps him to swallow his prey whole.
Another mechanism closely related to its camouflage is its special eyes, which always make it look like he is awake, even when he is sleeping. This protects him against humans, his one, and only enemy, who kill him for its skin.
The female boa has a unique gestation period lasting about 4 months. During this time, the female, who is a viviparous (young develop inside the female, hatch inside her, and are born alive), has about 20 to 40 live babies. These babies become independent within a month, and begin themselves mating around 4 years.
The boas are cold-blooded reptiles and need warm environments to survive. When the temperature gets too cold for them, they often burrow in a hole to keep warm.
The female boa protects her young from unstable temperatures by coiling around them, or hiding them in a burrow when she is out looking for food.
All these adaptations have taken many years to evolve, and while the boa constrictor is protected by international regulations because killing it is illegal, these adaptations help him survive out in the wild.