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(Corallus hortulanus) Amazon Tree Boas
Amazon tree boas are a medium-sized, rather slender arboreal snake averaging an adult size of 4 1/2-5 feet. They have large heat-sensitive pits, large eyes and teeth capable of penetrating the thickest of plumage, scales or fur of their natural prey. The amazon tree boa has a bad reputation for biting repeatedly but I don't believe this to be the case with all specimens. I own a number of amazons and have only 2 out of around 15 that I can honestly say will bite every time, whereas the others are cool, calm and collected. I strongly believe that you need to spend time with your animal, observing and generally learning to judge its character. It truly is all about body-language; it takes time, but you can generally pick up what it is going to do next. I do, however, have one main rule: I don't handle them or disturb them at night-time as they go into hunting mode and think everything is food, even your FINGERS!
Amazon tree boas can be found alongside river banks in the Amazon rainforest. During the daytime you can usually locate them high up in the canopy of the jungle. At night they descend towards the lower levels, and are generally found around 3-6 feet from the water-level or forest floor awaiting their next meal. They are easily given away by their eyes reflecting torch light. They are an excellent stepping-stone towards keeping some of the more challenging arboreal snake species such as emerald tree boas and green tree pythons, both of which have pretty much the same care requirements as Amazons. They too are found in a large selection of different colours, which makes them very attractive arboreal snakes.
The average-sized enclosure needed for a single Amazon Tree Boa is a 2 x 2 x 2 - foot cage with plenty of branches and perches to give ample climbing possibilities, but it is also important to provide floor hides for your Amazons as they do also spend time on the floor. You can easily provide an arboreal hide in the way of a bird box or, which I personally prefer, a 4-inch-diameter tube over a perch and they often like using this as a substitute hole in a branch. I would recommend for an adult group a 3 x 2 x 3 vivarium and that would suffice for around 3 breeding snakes. You can use Eco-earth, orchid bark or even newspaper, all of which seem to work with good success. You can use either fake or real plants but the largest Amazons can sometimes be quite destructive, especially when they are breeding, as males do like to chase their females and can break delicate plants.
Heating and Humidity
Amazon Tree Boas require a tempereture-differential between night and day with a daytime high between 84 and 90F, with a cooler end in the vivarium reaching 80-84F. Night-time temperatures are best kept at 74-80F beacuse these snakes are nocturnally active. You can use various forms of heating for your Amazons I personally like using a thermostatically controlled heat-mat which, providing you have a plastic or fibreglass vivarium, can be secured to the back of the enclosure. I typically have 2 perches in smaller cages and secure the heat probe onto the perch closest to the heat source with the thermostat set to 88F. I find this gives a good day time temperature. Humidity requirements are in the range of 65-80% on average, I can attain this humidity by spraying 3 times a week minimum and maintainiing a large water bowl also helps. Newly-born Amazons tend to grow up best in small tubs on a racking system. I find it easier to maintain the correct temperature and humidity that way.
Adult Amazons seem to do best in my opinion with feeding every 3-4 weeks, which would consist of a defrosted small weaner rat or small rat depending on the size of the snake. Hatchlings in my experience feed well on fuzzy mice or small rat pups, warmed up for them. Once feeding, babies grow rapidly and are rarely a problem feeder after their first meal.
Breeding Amazon Tree Boas need not be a chore, I have found them to be quite regular breeders if given basic care and good feed schedule. I start to cycle my Amazons from the beginning of November until Christmas Day. This entails standard day-time temperatures as required in day-to-day keeping, but with a larger night-time-drop. I like to aim for a temperature of 70-72F for the night drops; hot days and cold nights is what you are basically aiming for. During this time I lower the humidity to try and simulate a drier period. On Christmas day I introduce the male to the female's cage and spray heavily. I also maintain the standard day/night temperature differential as normal. Mating usually takes place within the hour. I leave the male in until I have seen an ovulation or an increase in girth of the female. This, however, does not mean that she is gravid, it could just be ripe follicles. After the female has ovulated, she will shed in a month or so and this is called the pre-lay shed, which means that she should give birth in 5 1/2 - 6 months time. Sometimes males are not interested in mating. In these cases, I like to put another male's shed skin into the pair's cage, which makes the male more interested in mating, because males are territorial and will attack other males if a female is present.
I hope you can find this care sheet of some help to you.
Pictures bellow are of some of my baby's I have produced and a few breeding animals