Hungary's first
scientific site about Boa constrictors

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    Colombian boa (Boa c. imperator)

    Colombia have been the number one country in boa exportation for long years. Due to this fact, furthermore to their great adaptability and calm temper, Colombian boas have become the most frequent locality in captivity in the past decades, in the foreign countries at least.

    Based on appearance there exist two distinct forms in captivity; the darker "Baranquilla" and the lighter, more frequent "Letitia".
    To the best of our knowledge, those animals were not collected from Baranquilla and Letitia, they only left their country through these cities. "Letitia boa" are probably native to Northern Colombia, surroundings of valley of Rio Magdalena, while origin of "Baranquilla boas" is not exactly known. Actually, animals in Letitia belong to Boa c. constrictor and are very similar to Peruvian redtail boas in terms of appearance. High, snow covered peaks of Andes compose a natural barrier between imperator and constrictor subspecies.

    Boa c. imperator from Colombia are the biggest members of this subspecies. Females could reach even 3m (10 ft), altough this is uncommon and the average is much smaller, approximately 2 m (almost 7 ft) in length. Males are visibly smaller and less heavier bodied than females.
    Most of specimens have calm temper, robust health conditions and are great feeders. They are easy to breed more often than not.
    They reach maturity in 3-4 years, depending on feeding. Number of dorsal saddles are only 20-21. Animals kept in captivity usually could have only one health problem: obesity.

    As watchful readers could have noticed, these boas are very similar to boas known as "crossbred boas", "mixed boas" or "terrarium boas" (a term used in Europe for crossbred Boa constrictors). This is simply because boas that have been crossbred for generations had mostly Colombian imperator ancestors. Of course, this does not mean that these animals would be pure subspecies or could reproduce pure Colombian boas anymore.

    Subadult female Colombian boa (Boa c. imperator) Photo: Gus Rentfro

    Unfortunately, keepers have been using Colombian boas to breed to other localities and subspecies. In these days, it is very unique if we can recognise a pure specimen of Colombian boa.
    Some of crossbred boas are simply indistinguishable from Colombian boas, thus new owners have to be really careful before buying one. Unfortunately, we know several cases when crossbred boas were sold as animals from pure bloodlines.

    One must not forget: origin of animals have to be proven and able to be traced back. Hearing stories like "I don't know where my animals from, but I saw lot of pictures on the internet and my boas look the same like Colombian boas, so they must be Colombians!" does not prove anything and is not convincing at all. In truth, a weird statement like that tells it all about the seller. We have heard stories like this more than once.

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