The Boa Constrictor of Costa Rica
This large snake of the jungle carries a fearsome reputation among people near and far, but in reality there are only certain times that people should beware Boa Constrictors.
Constrictors cover an expanse from north to south starting in Mexico and going into South America. Boa Constrictors survive in a number of ecosystems including tropical rainforests and arid semi-dry deserts. They are found in Carara National Park, Tortuguero National Park, Guanacaste National Park, Rincón de la Vieja National Park and Corcovado National Park to name a few places in Costa Rica.
Mating & Reproduction
Boa Constrictors usually reproduce sexually, but it has been observed producing asexually, as well. Constrictors who engage in sexual activity are polygynous which means that the male will actively pursue multiple females. The males will wrestle each other for the right to copulate with a female that has signified her desire to mate by releasing a certain scent. Copulation can be as short as a few minutes or as long as a few hours.
Only half of the available females in a given area will become impregnated in a year. Females birth live young, but they may not do so until well over a year after copulation. The females can hold the males sperm in check until they ovulate, and in some cases that takes a long time. The female sheds after ovulation, and then it goes through a gestation period of about 100 to 120 days. The female typically births between 15 and 65 young that are independent.
Boa Constricors are carnivores. They eat a large number of animals including rodents, birds, felines, reptiles, amphibians and bats. Constrictors have a very slow metabolism, and they do not eat after a meal for anywhere from 2 weeks to several months. They are primarily nocturnal, but they may bask in the sun when temperatures are too low.
Constrictors are the most dangerous when they are in their shed cycle. They cannot see as well at that time, and this causes them to become more defensive.
Boa Constrictors are often listed as an invasive species, and are known to be lowering the numbers of certain rodents in the areas that they populate.
Where to see it in Costa Rica: Carara National Park, Tortuguero National Park, Guanacaste National Park, Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park, Corcovado National Park
Diet: rodents, birds, felines, reptiles, amphibians, bats
Migration Pattern: non-migratory
Habitat: tropical rainforests, arid-semi dry deserts
Size: length=0.91-3.96 m weight=10-27 kg (males are larger than females)
Species: Boa constrictor