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    Orton's boa (Boa c. ortonii)

    (Cope, 1878)



    Older, experienced boa enthusiasts are certainly familiar with name of subspecies ortonii, because Peruvian redtail boas (Boa c. constrictor) had been misnamed as Boa c. ortonii for a long time. Actually, Orton's boa is native to the Western part of Andes in contrast with Boa c. constrictor which occur in the Amazon basin.


    A young specimen found near Chagual, Peru. Photo: Claudia Koch


    Primary colors of Boa c. ortonii are grayish, light brown. Saddles- that can be as many as 29 -are dark brown. Presumably, the coloration of these boas is darker by higher altitudes and cooler climates. The ventral surface is white, it may have a pink tone and is barely dotted with black speckles.
    The biggest live speciment found by Peruvian herpetologist was 2,7 m (9 ft) long.

    Due to the amazing adaptability of this subspecies, Orton's boa can be found from elevation 0 to 2000 m ( 0 to 6560 ft), from bare, semi desert areas, through dry forests to mountainous regions. In the higher altitudes they are able to endure a night low temperature of 10 Celsius (50 Fahrenheit). They are probably inactive during the cooler months as their life cycle slows down at low temperature.

    Their primary preys are rodents in different sizes, lizards, squirrels, maybe frogs.


    Photo: Michael Tweddle, www.mtphotosafaris.com


    Boa c. ortonii is still a considerably unknown subspecies. We have no information on their exact distribution area. Based on places of collections, it seems that they can be found from South of Tumbes province, along the West Peruvian coasts, entering to mountainous regions up to Junin province.

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