Can Emerald Tree Boas Be Kept as Pets
Photo by Marius Masalar on

Have you ever heard of the majestic snake known as the emerald tree boa? Known scientifically as Corallus caninus, this interesting snake gets its moniker from its uniquely-colored offspring, which are coral in appearance, and from their head shape, which resembles some species of dogs. The neon green serpent is indigenous to the South American rainforests and resides deep in its lush canopy. 

While this gorgeous serpent is not often kept as a house pet, it is still considered to be a wonderful and unique pet to have. With proper training in handling and care, particular sub-species of the emerald tree boa can be great companions for pet owners that know how to raise them correctly. It should be noted that not every variety of the emerald tree boa can be kept in captivity, and even those that are able to be handled, require particular care and consideration.

Are Emerald Tree Boas Aggressive?

It is critical to understand that the emerald tree boa originates in two distinct areas of Brazil—the southern half that borders on the Amazon River basin and the northern area, which has a much different habitat. Southern-bred boas are much more preferable to keep as pets, while their northern counterparts are actually a protected species under the laws of Brazil, and those that keep exotic pets are actually discouraged from owning them. 

There are a few reasons for these distinctions, but the main idea is the extreme difference in personality and temperament between the two sub-species. The northern variety do not make the best pets because they are aggressive and have been known to cause injuries to uninformed owners. 

In fact, that is why they are protected under Brazilian law—primarily to protect naive buyers from purchasing a dangerous pet. That said, illegal trading does still occur, so if you are in the market for an emerald tree boa, do your research to determine where your potential pet came from originally.

However, the more docile, gentle, southern emerald tree boa is usually only known to attack around feeding times which is actually common for many types of snakes. The lovely southern boa also flourishes at seven to nine feet in length when fully grown—a few feet longer than its northern relatives.

Can You Handle an Emerald Tree Boa?

That can be a tricky question. Northern emerald tree boas are more aggressive and because of this should not be handled by an amateur owner. That said, the southern counterpart has a slightly more laid-back temperament and can be handled moderately if done right. This is because all emerald tree boas have a sensitive and delicate tail, and if they are handled improperly, it can easily be damaged. This is especially true when it comes to younger snakes. 

In order to properly hold an emerald tree boa, you should have a snake hook on hand to gently take the serpent out of its terrarium. Try not to disturb the snake until the early afternoon because then it will be fully awake and less likely to strike. Also, take precautions not to handle your snake for 48 hours after feeding or for up to 24 hours prior to feeding.

Are Emerald Tree Boas Venomous?

Thankfully, no emerald tree boas are poisonous. That said, they will bite if they feel threatened in any way, so potential owners should be extra careful when handling his or her emerald tree boa because some can be combative, even if yours may not seem aggressive.

How Long Do Emerald Tree Boas Live?

Believe it or not, some emerald tree boas can live as long as 15 years, rivaling common house pets like cats and dogs. Owners are sure to form strong bonds with them over that duration. 

As a matter of fact, the time you spend with your young serpent will lead to a spectacular friendship. Just picture your new pal when he or she is born, covered in a bright red hue that gives way to an orange shade, only to mature to a neon green facade. It certainly is amazing to experience!

Want to read more of our latest posts? Learn if snakes make good pets and how to choose the right one for you.

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