Top 10 Brazilian Rainbow Boa Facts – a Snake With Rainbow Scales?

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Quick Facts

Scientific Name: Epicrates c. cenchria

Common Names: Rainbow boa, slender boa, brazilian rainbow boa

Geographic Range: Central and South America

Life Span: 20+ years

Conservation Status: Least Concern


Top 10 List

1. Colourful Rainbow Scales


The main colours of rainbow boas are beautiful reds or oranges, with various black markings. However, rainbow boas get their name due to the fact that their scales have a beautiful iridescent rainbow sheen. The rainbow sheen is brightest and most prominent right after the boa has shed. 

The rainbow iridescence of their scales is caused by microscopic ridges on the scales that create a rainbow glow when they reflect light.

2. Colourful Morphs

Hypo Rainbow Boa

Like many popular reptiles out there, Brazilian Rainbow Boas have a couple different morphs available. Some of the popular ones include: high red, hypo, albino, ghost, anery, candy stripe, and blush.

3. Different Subspecies

Brazilian Rainbow Boas are one of nine (+?) subspecies of the rainbow boa. However, Brazilian rainbow boas are most common among the pet trade, and are often kept as pets. The second most common rainbow boa kept as a pet is the Colombian Rainbow Boa. 

4. Snake Young

On average female snakes will be gravid for 100 or more days. After that she births anywhere from 12-25 babies in their amniotic sac, at which point they break out and take their first breaths. After that the young snakes are on their own. 

Many young rainbow boas can be very nippy and flighty while they are small. However, with regular handling, they tend to calm down as they age and grow. Young rainbow boas are likely to be more aggressive due to the fact that they are more easily preyed upon in the wild at such a small size. 

5. Pet Snake


Rainbow boas are extremely popular in the pet trade, due to the beautiful rainbow sheen to their scales. Many keepers are enamoured by the snakes beautiful appearance. However, rainbow boas are considered intermediate pets to keep, as these snakes require quite high humidity to stay in good health.  

6. Larger Females


Brazilian Rainbow females on average tend to be larger and thicker than their male counterparts. Females tend to grow to 6 or 7 feet, while males on average reach from 5.5 – 6 feet. 

7. Nocturnal Snakes

Rainbow Boas are nocturnal snakes. An hour before sundown they tend to go hunting for a drink of water, or searching for a suitable hiding spot. They like to pick the spots that have a high rodent, frog, and bird population. Once they have found their spot and settled in, they sit in their hide and wait for their food to come by.

8. Ambush Predators

Like other boas, rainbow boas will ambush and constrict their prey. They grab their prey with their sharp, backward facing teeth and proceed to coil around it. They then squeeze their prey with their body, and consume it. 

9. Terrestrial 


Rainbow Boas are primarily terrestrial snakes. These snakes are usually found near a source of water. They mostly inhabit rainforests and humid woodland forests, however they have been occasionally spotted in open savannahs. Despite the fact that they do have a prehensile tail to help them climb, they are not truly arboreal snakes as they spend most of their time on the ground. 

10. Varied Diet

In the wild rainbow boas have quite a varied diet. That diet mainly consists of small mammals, rodents, birds, bats, and sometimes even small lizards. In captivity rainbow boas are able to thrive on a diet of appropriate sized mice/rats. 

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