Madagascan Tree Boa

Tree Boa


Like other boas, the Madagascar tree boa is nocturnal.  Occasionally, it will bask on a sunny branch. Males of this species also use trees to perch on while fighting each other, usually during the mating season. A male will coil its lower body around a tree limb, leaving the top half suspended to fight its adversary.


The tree boa hunts using heat-sensitive pits around the mouth to find prey. It mostly eats small mammals and birds. Once it catches its victim, the snake constricts the animal until circulation is completely cut off and the heart stops.

Life Cycle

Some snakes lay eggs, but Madagascan tree boas give birth to live young. A female’s color darkens while she is pregnant to allow her to absorb more heat for embryo development. After six months, she will deliver anywhere from 4 to 15 babies. Snakes are about 16 inches long and weigh just over an ounce at birth. They reach maturity at around a year and a half.

Some of My Neighbors

Brown lemurs, Black lemurs, Fossa, Tomato Frog, Hissing Cockroach, Chameleons

Population Status & Threats 

The Madagascan tree boa is classified as vulnerable. The tree boa is amongst the most common snakes in Madagascar, but its habitat has been greatly reduced by deforestation.  It is estimated that its population has been reduced by at least 20 percent in the past decade.

WCS Conservation Efforts

Tree boas live in a variety of forests, but only 15 percent of the country remains forested. In the mid-1990s, WCS worked with the officials in northeastern Madagascar to establish Masoala National Park, an 840-square-mile area of tropical humid forest. WCS is also working with in the adjoining Makira forest, an important area for biodiversity in Madagascar. WCS is also in Sahamalaza, a marine biosphere reserve with important reef and mangrove systems and deciduous dry forests. This will soon be a new marine and coastal national park, supported by the local communities who are looking towards eco-tourism and management of the natural resources to improve their livelihoods. Learn more about WCS work in Madagascar. 

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