How Long Do Boa Constrictors Get?

Boa constrictors are known to be quite long but how long they grow to be is something I’ve asked myself. They are most commonly displayed in popular media as lengthy, large, sometimes never-ending creatures draped across tree branches deep in the jungle. I did some research as to how accurate the length of the boa constrictor has been portrayed.

Just how long do boa constrictors get? When born, boa constrictors are usually two feet long and can grow up to thirteen feet. According to National Geographic, the longest recorded boa was eighteen feet, five more than a mature female boa.

As a species that was imported into the United States, there is still a lot to learn about them. I would like to present to you the most current information on the size of boas.

Female vs Male Boa

You may be surprised to learn that the female boa is the larger of the two sexes. This is the reverse than most snake breeds. While the average length for a male is seven to ten feet, the females commonly stretch longer than ten feet and in captivity, can easily reach thirteen feet.

The female boa also typically outweighs the male. Typical male boas range from 15 pounds to 23 pounds, whereas females range from 22 pounds to 35 pounds; the largest reaching up to 100 lbs (45kg).

There are many subspecies of the boa constrictor snake, but there are two main species that stand out and are most common to pet snake vendors: The boa constrictor constrictor (or true red-tailed boa) and the boa constrictor imperator. These are the two we will focus on in this article.

When I did more research, I realized it is quite common for the boa constrictor to be confused with its much longer cousin, the anaconda snake. So much so that there was a challenge to the record for the longest boa snake, at eighteen and a half feet, but this snake was actually later identified as a green anaconda snake.

They didn’t even know until after they thought they had found the biggest! These were people at an actual event for snakes, these people are supposed to be the most knowledgeable.

Here is a break-down of the boa at different ages

  • Hatched: two feet
  • One year old: three to four feet long
  • Three years old: six to ten feet in length

Boa constrictors reach adulthood in anywhere from three to five years. There isn’t a period when boa constrictors stop growing. Though growth does slow down once they have hit adulthood, their bodies will continue to grow.

What Makes the Boa So Long?

The size and weight of the boa constrictor snake can be attributed to its wide appetite and availability of prey. The constrictor will eat monkeys, bats, birds, wild pigs, and even deer. Since they are nocturnal, they have a special affection for the bat, which is also a nocturnal animal, and are often catching them mid-air from a branch.

Boa constrictors don’t have poisonous fangs. Instead, they have small hooked teeth they use when they are striking at prey. They then constrict (hence the name boa constrictor) the prey until blood flow ceases in the smaller animals. Once they are dead, the constrictor can then consume their prey whole, and typically digest the entire meal within six days.

Because of this speedy process, boa constrictors can eat large amounts of food, thus altering their size and becoming larger than most other snakes.

The size and weight of the boa constrictor snake can be attributed to its wide appetite and availability of prey.

Just like you see in the movies, the two subspecies previously mentioned (red-tail and imperator) can be found in the countries of South America, but they are not found only deep in the jungle. They have a much larger range, from living near the edges of forests to living in clearings to inhabiting dry or tropical deserts and can even be found near rivers.

However, the opposite can also be true. The size of a boa can also depend on the subspecies and the location. For example, there are several populations of smaller constrictors called “dwarf boa”, such as the subspecies boa constrictor imperator. For example, the population of dwarf boa constrictors found on Hog Island, north of Honduras.

What is the Difference Between Boa Constrictors and Pythons

If you are excited to learn more about large snakes, consider yourself part of a good group! There are two groups of large snakes, the boa constrictor and the python.

Some may think there are three types of large snakes, the boa constrictor, python, and the anaconda. However, the anaconda is actually a species of the boa. The python generally is the larger of the two groups.

The easiest differences to spot between the two groups are that boas give live birth while pythons lay eggs and that pythons have heat pits which are missing in the boa.

Related Questions

Are boa constrictors good pets? Boa constrictors can be mellow giants and fun to own, so they can make awesome pets. If you do decide to buy a boa constrictor, understand they are a long-term commitment. A boa constrictor’s lifespan in captivity ranges from 20 to 30 years.

Are boa constrictors good pets with kids? Large snakes, in general, are not considered the best pets when surrounded by small children. While the boa isn’t poisonous, an accidental bite alone can be harmful.

How dangerous are boa constrictors? Some people keep boa constrictors as pets due to their beautiful patterns and massive body. However, it is not advisable to let a boa constrictor roam around while you sleep. If you get bitten by a boa constrictor and the bite continues to bother you, visit a doctor as the bite might cause an infection.