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Amazon Tree Boa Husbandry

This article is intended to provide requirements for providing Amazon Tree Boa Husbandry in captivity.

The Amazon Tree Boa (Corallus hortulanus) is a non-venomous snake species that is found in parts of South and Central America. These snakes are known for their striking coloration, which can vary from bright greens to deep reds and browns.

A neonate amazon Tree Boa


  • Corallus hortulanus is also commonly known as the Garden Tree Boa, Corallus enydris, and Boa hortulana.

Common Names

The Amazon Tree Boa is commonly known by the following names:

  1. Amazon Tree Boa
  2. Garden Tree Boa
  3. Macabrel

Natural Distribution

Amazon Tree Boas are found in a range of habitats, including rainforests, swamps, and marshes, throughout South and Central America. They are typically found in the branches of trees, where they use their prehensile tails to anchor themselves.

Conservation Status

Amazon Tree Boas are classified as a species of “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) lists Corallus horulanus under Appendix II.

Physical Characteristics

  1. Size: The Amazon Tree Boa is a medium-sized snake, with adult individuals typically reaching lengths of 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters).
  2. Coloration: They exhibit a wide range of color patterns and morphs, including various shades of brown, or gray, often with dark markings or stripes. This allows them to blend into the vegetation and trees of their habitat.
  3. Body Shape: They have a slender and elongated body, adapted for climbing and maneuvering in trees.
  4. Scales: The scales of the Amazon Tree Boa are smooth and glossy.
  5. Head and Eyes: They have a relatively large head with distinct eyes and a rounded snout.



1.5 – 1.8 meters (5-6 ft.)

800-1,000g (1.7 – 2.2 lbs.)


1.8 – 2.2 meters (5-7 ft.)

1,200-1,400g (2.6 – 3 lbs.)

Typical length and weight of an adult Amazon Tree Boa (Corallus hortulanus).


In the wild, Amazon Tree Boas primarily feed on small mammals, such as rodents, and birds. In captivity, a diet of appropriately sized frozen-thawed rodents is commonly fed.

It is important to note that the size of the prey item should be appropriate for the size of the snake. For young Amazon Tree Boas, prey items such as pinkie or fuzzy mice are appropriate, while adult snakes may require larger prey items such as adult mice, or rats.

When selecting prey items, it is important to ensure that they are of appropriate size and weight for the snake. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health problems, while underfeeding can result in malnutrition and stunted growth. It is generally recommended to feed an appropriately sized prey item every 1-2 weeks, depending on the age and size of the snake.

Additionally, it is important to ensure that the prey item is fully thawed and warmed to room temperature before feeding, as feeding cold prey can cause digestive issues in the snake. It is also recommended to feed in a separate feeding container or designated area of the enclosure to avoid accidental ingestion of substrate or other materials.

 Prey Size



Pink mice (1-2g)

Hopper mice (7-11g)

Weaned rats (35-50g)

Small rats (71-90g)

Terrarium Sizes

When providing care for Amazon Tree Boas, it’s important to provide an appropriately sized terrarium to allow for movement and exercise.

  • Juvenile Amazon Tree Boas (under 2 years old) should be housed in a terrarium that is at least 2 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet tall.
  • Subadult Amazon Tree Boas (between 2 and 4 years old) should be moved to a terrarium that is at least 3 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 3 feet tall.
  • Adult Amazon Tree Boas (over 4 years old) are ideally housed in a terrarium that is at least 3 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 4 feet tall.

Terrarium Substrates

Amazon Tree Boas require a substrate that is absorbent and helps to maintain humidity. Appropriate substrates can include coconut fiber, sphagnum moss, or a mixture of both.


Coconut Mulch

Coconut mulch is made from the fibers of coconut husks and is a popular substrate choice for many reptiles. It’s an eco-friendly option that is excellent at retaining moisture, which is important for Amazon Tree Boas, who require a humid environment. Coconut coir is also easy to clean and maintain.

Note: Coconut coir should be avoided.

Cypress Mulch

Cypress mulch is another popular substrate choice for Amazon Tree Boas. It’s made from the bark of cypress trees and is also good at retaining moisture. Cypress mulch is a natural-looking substrate that provides excellent hiding spots for your snake. It’s also easy to clean and maintain.

Newspaper or Paper Towels

If you prefer a low-cost substrate that is easy to clean, you can use newspaper or paper towels. These options do not retain moisture as well as coconut coir or cypress mulch, so you will need to provide additional moisture in the terrarium through misting or a humidifier.

It’s important to avoid substrates that can cause health problems for your snake, such as substrates made from pine or cedar. These substrates contain oils that can be harmful to reptiles and should be avoided.

Regardless of which substrate you choose, be sure to spot clean daily and do a full substrate change every few months. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the substrate will help keep your snake healthy and happy.

In summary, appropriate substrates for Amazon Tree Boas are ones that retain moisture, are easy to clean, and safe for your snake. Coconut coir, cypress mulch, and newspaper or paper towels are all appropriate substrate options.

Terrarium Lighting

While Amazon Tree Boas are primarily nocturnal and do not require UVB lighting, providing UVB lighting in their enclosure can have several benefits for their overall health and well-being. UVB lighting helps reptiles to synthesize vitamin D3, which is essential for proper bone growth and metabolism.

In the wild, reptiles receive UVB radiation from the sun, which allows them to synthesize vitamin D3. However, in captivity, reptiles often do not receive adequate UVB exposure, which can lead to vitamin D3 deficiency and related health problems. Providing a UVB light source in the enclosure can help to prevent these issues.

In addition to aiding in vitamin D3 synthesis, UVB lighting can also help to regulate the reptile’s circadian rhythm, which can positively impact their behavior, activity levels, and overall health. It is important to note that UVB lighting can degrade over time and should be replaced every 6-12 months to ensure adequate UVB exposure.

When selecting a UVB light source for an Amazon Tree Boa enclosure, it is important to choose a bulb with an appropriate UVB output for the size of the enclosure. It is also important to provide a basking spot where the snake can thermoregulate and receive direct exposure to the UVB light.

It is important to note that while UVB lighting can provide many benefits to Amazon Tree Boas and other reptiles, it should not be used as a replacement for proper temperature, humidity, and nutrition. A balanced and appropriate diet, proper temperature and humidity levels, and a clean and well-maintained enclosure are all essential components of proper Amazon Tree Boa care.

Temperature and Humidity

The temperature gradient in the terrarium should range from 75-80°F on the cooler end to 85-90°F on the warmer end. A basking spot should be provided at a temperature of around 90°F. The humidity level in the terrarium should be kept between 60-70%, with regular misting of the enclosure to maintain proper humidity levels.


The terrarium should be spot cleaned daily to remove any feces or uneaten food. A full cleaning of the enclosure should be done on a regular basis, using a reptile-safe disinfectant. All substrate, decor, and furnishings should be removed and thoroughly cleaned before being returned to the enclosure.

It is important to note that Amazon Tree Boas can be difficult to care for and require a high level of expertise. Potential owners should ensure they are fully prepared and have done extensive research before deciding to keep these snakes as pets.


  1. McDiarmid, R. W., Campbell, J. A., & Touré, T. A. (1999). Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Vol. 1. Herpetologists’ League.
  2. Bartlett, R. D., & Bartlett, P. (2011). Amazon Tree Boa: Corallus hortulanus. In: Snakes of North America: Eastern and Central Regions. University of Texas Press.
  3. “Amazon Tree Boa (Corallus hortulanus)” by Reptiles Magazine: (Accessed online 2023)
  4. “Corallus hortulanus” by the IUCN Red List: (Accessed online 2023)
  5. “UVB Lighting for Reptiles” by the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians: (Accessed online 2023)
  6. “Reptile Lighting Information” by Zoo Med Laboratories: (Accessed online 2023)
  7. Amazon Tree Boa Fact Sheet: (Accessed online 2023)

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