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    St. Lucian boa (Boa c. orophias)

    (Lazell, 1964)



    Boa c. orophias was first described by Carolus Linneaus as subspecies from unknown origin in 1758. The genuine description was done later by James D. Lazell in 1964. Since this form is totally isolated from other populations of Boa constrictor, in addition it is very distinct in appearance, Santa Lucian boas - just like Dominican boas (Boa c. nebulosa)- are often considered as a separate species by some herpetologists.

    Number of dorsal blotches are 27-31, number of ventral scales are extremely high, 270-280. Primary colours and patterns are brownish, and are passing into darker and darker by age. Finally, oldest specimens will have dark gray background, although anterior third of the body is markedly lighter than the posterior parts. Ventral is white, dotted with black or gray fleckles. On top of the head the spear-like pattern is hardly visible, often split, discontinuous. In some case, there is no visible spear-like pattern at all. Biggest females can reach 2,5 m (more than 8 ft).


    Adult specimen with a reverse striped tail. Photo: Jürgen Kromer


    Juveniles are more arboreal and can get up to the trees as high as 15 m (50 ft), but as they grow they have to choose rather terrestrial living. Some specimens are known to use thermal, volcanic caves as heating spots in their habitat. St. Lucian boas can be found in forestal regions and farmlands, as well as plantations. Most of natives are protecting boas, since these snakes are reducing numbers of rats that are destructive for plantations.


    Adult St. Lucian boa. Photo: Gabor Kamiński


    Boa c. orophias are very seldom in captivity. We know only about a few breeders, who had been breeding Santa Lucian boas in the past years.

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