Distribution area of Argentine boas ranges from South Paraguay to the middle of Argentina, altough some authors also mention South Bolivian and South Argentine populations.
Juvenile occidentalis has a whole different appearance than adults. Their primary colors are rather grayish or pinkish, patterns do not have much contrast. Adult specimens have dark brown, black primary colours with outcropping white speckles.
There are two distinct forms recognized with no selective breeding applied in captivity. One of them is dark, charcoal black colored as adult, while to other looks somewhat lighter, more brownish. Both of them occur in their natural habitat, sometimes even in the very same population.
Number of dorsal saddles are 22 or above. Ventral surface is covered by lot of dark spots and may appear uniformly black on adults.
Some specimens can reach an enormous size in captivity: they can exceed 3 meters (10 ft) and 30 kg (66 pounds). However, most of them will stay between 1,8-2,4m (6-8 ft).
Youngsters are often reacting with opened mouth and hissing when they are disturbed. Most of these phenomenas are bluff, but keepers have to be always alert.
Babies are delivered in 120-150 days after post ovulation shed and generally in the end of the summer.
Altough in their original habitat Argentine boas are adapted pretty well for cool, mountainous climate, animals that have been in captivity for generations should rather be kept under normal daytime (28-30 C) and nighttime temperatures (23-24 C), at least in the non-breeding season.
According to breeders in the US, Argentine boas are excellent feeders. Keepers should rather be aware of obesity and not regurgitation. Nonetheless, Boa c. occidentalis are among the few subspecies that tend to regurge when the prey is too big or feedings are too frequent. We also experienced regurgitation with our babies, altough they were fed with moderate food items.
Boa c. occidentalis is the only subspecies of Boa constrictor that belongs to CITES Appendix I. That means, Boa c. occidentalis is directly threatened by extinction. Therefore, collection from their habitats for trade purpose is prohibited! Futhermore, it is forbidden to own their leather products, bodies, etc.
Conservation of this beautiful, endangered subspecies would be necessary by all means. However, irresponsible keepers in Hungary (just like in most foreign countries) have been breeding Argentine boas to crossbred boas to produce cheap, but more selable babies. They are also used to create more and more extreme color morphs in the foreign countries.
As this subspecies cannot be exported from their habitat (what’s more, captive born specimens cannot be imported/exported between several countries, neither.) there is limited number of Argentine boas in captivity. These boas will have a major part in the survival of this subspecies. It is no exaggregation to say: the destiny of Argentine boas lays in hands of responsible breeders.
1.1 CB 2009 Pearl Island boas
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