The Caulker Cay Boa (Boa imperator) is a non-venomous reptile species belonging to the family Boidae. It is a subspecies of the Boa constrictor and is known for its small size and distinct coloration. Below is the requested information about the Caulker Cay Boa:
- Boa constrictor imperator (LINNAEUS, 1758)
The Caulker Cay Boa is commonly known by the following names:
- Caulker Cay Boa
- Cay Caulker Boa
- Belize Boa
The Caulker Cay Boa is endemic to the small island of Cay Caulker off the coast of Belize in Central America. It is not found in any other location, making it a highly localized species.
- CITES Appendix II3
The Caulker Cay Boa (Boa imperator) is not assessed as a separate species for conservation status by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, the Central American Boa (Boa imperator) has most recently been assessed for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2018 when they listed Boa imperator as Least Concern.
The Caulker Cay Boa is a subspecies of the Boa constrictor known for its small size and distinct coloration. They have a robust and muscular body, with a triangular-shaped head. The color pattern of this boa is unique, with a bright orange or reddish background color and black or dark brown markings along the body. The head often has a distinctive black stripe running through the eyes. They are primarily terrestrial but can climb trees when necessary. Like other boas, they are constrictors, using their muscular bodies to capture and subdue prey, which includes small mammals, birds, and reptiles.
Caulker Cay are among the smallest of B. imperator insular boas, with females topping out around 1.5 meters (4.9 feet). Adult Males are smaller, some reaching sexual maturity at only a meter in length2.
Caulkers are unique in color; they appear naturally anerythristic in color, almost entirely lacking red pigmentation. Their dorsal background color tends to be light grey in color, with darker grey nearly black dorsal saddles (22-24 saddles snout to vent). Their lateral (sides) are somewhat grey in color, with dark grey patter. The ventral (belly) these boas are a noticeably light grey, almost white in color, with dark grey and back speckles.
Some Caulkers do exhibit dark brown dorsal or tail saddles, where others are nearly black in color.
Interestingly, Caulkers are similar to some other insular boas (such as Hog Isles) where they can exhibit a different color hue depending on their temperature. This is most evident in the evenings when temperatures cool, and boas are more active.
These are still uncommon boas in Herpetoculture, although they’re a true pleasure to work with.
The first (wild collected) Caulker Cay boas entered Herpetoculture in the early 1900’s, by a research graduate. These boas were purchased by Gus Rentfro (Rio Bravo Reptiles)1 and Gus later produced the first F1 offspring.
Size: The Caulker Cay Boa is one of the smallest subspecies of Boa constrictor, with adult individuals typically reaching lengths of 3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 meters).
Coloration: They have a unique and distinct color pattern, characterized by a bright orange or reddish background color with black or dark brown markings. The head often has a distinctive black stripe running through the eyes.
Body Shape: They have a robust and muscular body, well-suited for constricting prey.
Scales: The scales of the Caulker Cay Boa are smooth and glossy.
Head and Eyes: They have a distinct triangular-shaped head and relatively small eyes compared to their body size.
Caulker Cay Boa Gallery
- Central American Boa, Boa imperator, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). (Accessed online 2023)
- McDiarmid, R. W., Campbell, J. A., & Touré, T. A. (1999). Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Vol. 1. Herpetologists’ League.
- Hedges, S., Castoe, T. A., & Parkinson, C. L. (2014). Cautionary insights on the utility of concatenated gene datasets: An example from the snakes. Biology Letters, 10(11), 20140558. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0558
- Cetron, M. (2011). The Reptiles of Belize. [PDF] Retrieved from http://www.miamisci.org/belize/eco/reptiles/index.html
- Boa C. imperator Cay Caulker – Accessed Online (2016-11-19)
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – Appendices I, II and III (accessed Online, 2017)