Often referred to as “the poor man’s tree boa“, Amazon Tree Boas (or ATB’s for short), make interesting and rewarding pets, but only for the RIGHT type of keepers.
And while they are inexpensive compared to other species in the same genus (such as the Emerald Tree Boa), Amazon’s are beautiful in their regard and are one of few polymorphic snake species to exhibit an abundance of morph and color variations.
Aside from their alluring beauty and display potential, one of the main draws of owning this species is the mystery behind their breeding outcomes (more on this later).
But before you dive into owning one as a pet, it’s crucial that you research this sometimes feisty, yet true to noodle form species.
Luckily for you, this care guide has you covered and we’re not leaving any stone unturned.
Here, you’ll get the full scoop on everything there is to know about Amazon Tree Boa’s including their diet, size, lifespan, habitat setup, and much, much more!
Table of Contents
What is an Amazon Tree Boa?
Amazon Tree Boas (Corallus hortulanus) are one of nine recognized Tree Boa species.
Compared to other members in the same genus, Amazon’s are the most widespread geographically and are endemic to much of south and central America including Bolivia, Columbia, Venezuela, Cuyuna, Costa Rica, and Peru.
Amazon’s occupy various habitats in the wild but remain mostly arboreal in nature meaning they spend most of their lifetime eating, sleeping, and playing in the tree canopy.
Their long, thin bodies, which weigh between 1 and 3 lbs and average 5 to 7 feet in length, allow them to easily and elegantly move through the brush and treetops.
This slender build also enables them to be quite agile to complement their prey capture strategy, the likes of which consist of insects, birds, bats, lizards, rodents.
In captivity, Amazon Tree Boas have an average lifespan of 12-20 years.
Common Amazon Tree Boa morphs and phases include:
- Garden Phase
- Colored Phase
|Facts at a Glance:|
|Common name||Amazon Tree Boa|
|Scientific name||Corallus hortulanus|
|Adult size||60-78 inches|
|Diet||Rodents & small mammals|
|Tank Size||100 gallons|
|Temperature & Humidity||75%|
|Popular alternatives||Emerald Tree Boa, White Lipped Python|
Do Amazon Tree Boas Make Good Pets?
While caring for Amazon Tree Boas is easy and straight forward, ATB’s aren’t generally going to make good pets compared to some other snake species because they are notorious for having an aggressive temperament that doesn’t take well to handling.
Despite having a temperament that’s NOT conducive to handling, Amazon’s DO make exceptional display animals for those who want to admire their beauty from afar.
The fact is, Amazon’s are one of the most alluring display species in existence due to their highly vibrant colors and markings.
What’s more, they are incredibly active, and unlike some other species who just stay in one spot all the time, so the chances of seeing them “out and about” is quite high!
Behavior & Temperament
Generally speaking, ATB’s are very chill and if you don’t mess with them, they don’t care.
This means that you can clean and do maintenance in their cage without issues.
However, one of the biggest challenges with owning an Amazon Tree Boa is dealing with their sometimes feisty temperament when handled.
While Amazon’s are prone to biting, the fact of the matter is how they develop their temperament and tolerance towards being handled is variable.
The two factors that greatly determine an Amazon’s temperament are genetics and taming.
Genetics & Taming
One factor that can influence their disposition is genetics.
Truth be told, it isn’t uncommon for the mother’s temperament to pass down to her offspring.
Another factor that can influence an Amazon’s disposition is through taming.
Even if ATB’s aren’t calm at birth, there is still the possibility of conditioning them to be handled as babies.
Each ATB is unique so this is where knowing the personality of your snake comes in handy to help you gauge what they’re willing and unwilling to tolerate.
However, you may have to accept that there’s a chance your ATB will never tolerate being handled often, no matter how much you work with them.
Diet & Feeding
For the most part, feeding Amazon Tree Boas shouldn’t be a problem as they tend to readily feed on both live and pre-killed rodents without issues.
It is recommended, however, that before making the switch to frozen-thawed prey, you offer your babies a few live meals first.
One important thing to remember in regard to feeding ATB’s, is that by nature, are designed to be slender so they can easily maneuver and capture their prey.
This means that any attempt to power feed (feeding multiple prey items in one feeding or more frequent than what’s recommended), like what you might do with a colubrid or python, can be harmful and is likely the leading cause of premature death of Amazons.
When it comes to the size of prey, meals should leave a visible lump, but not in a way that hinders climbing or lifting onto any branches
When feeding baby Amazon’s, start off with your preference of appropriately sized and defrosted pinky or fuzzy mice that are warmed up in some water.
As they get older, you can move onto medium and larger sized prey.
For optimal nutrition, it’s best to offer your snake a variety of mammal prey including rodents, chicks, and ducklings.
⭐️ Fun Fact: Chicks are often available for a fraction of the cost when compared to other similar-sized rodents yet don’t compromise on overall nutrition.
|Amazon Tree Boa Feeding Schedule|
|Babies||Appropriately sized meal every 7-10 days.|
|Adults||Appropriately sized meal every 10-14 days.|
Enclosure & Habitat
When setting up your Amazon’s enclosure, it’s important to take into consideration each of the following:
- Tank size
- Lighting and temperature
- Decorations and accessories
When it comes to the size of your Amazon Tree Boas habitat, bigger is better.
In the wild, Amazon’s are active hunters and enjoy climbing so they will easily utilize every inch of the cage you put them in.
It’s important that you provide an enclosure that offers both considerable vertical height and horizontal length.
Doing so allows them to settle more quickly and get exercise which is a large component of a Tree Boas life.
For this reason, we recommend using a 100-gallon enclosure with dimensions 36″ X 18″ X 36″ to feel comfortable. Add: with front facing doors.
When it comes to the humidity inside your Amazon Tree Boa’s habitat, it is recommended that ambient humidity should never drop below 70%, and the ideal humidity should remain at 75%.
However, you should increase the humidity up to 80-90% during the shedding cycle.
Maintaining the proper humidity levels inside your Amazon’s enclosure could be tricky, so here are a few tips that may help.
Tips to maintain humidity:
1. Offer a constant supply of freshwater. The larger the water dish, the more humidity you will get. After all, humidity is the measure of water vapor in the air.
2. Avoid dry substrates (shavings, sand, paper products, etc.). These substrates are notorious for holding very little moisture, and in sum instances, even absorb humidity out of the air when compared to a substrate that is more porous in nature.
3. Mist regularly. A daily misting with a spray bottle or misting system is recommended with room temperature water. This includes misting the entire enclosure (including the walls), substrate, and the reptile. The droplets will evaporate and increase the humidity.
4. Decrease in ventilation. The humidity insides your ATB’s enclosure can easily escape through even the smallest of openings. You can minimize the potential for this escape by decreasing the ventilation inside the enclosure.
🤓 Expert Tip: Spray your pet’s enclosure with bottled water (instead of tap) because it’s free of any dissolved minerals and won’t leave water spots on the glass of your terrarium.
Lighting and Temperature
Maintaining adequate temperatures inside your Amazon Tree Boa’s enclosure is crucial.
Excessively high temperatures may cause regurgitation issues and could be fatal. Conversely, snakes that are kept too cool could give way to respiratory infections and require immediate veterinary attention.
The proper temperatures for a healthy ATB include an ambient daytime temperature of 83 degrees F and a nighttime temperature of 78 degrees F.
Amazon’s must be able to thermoregulate for various physiological functions, so be sure to create an environment that includes both a warm and cool side. The basking spot should not exceed 90 degrees F.
The bedding used for your Amazon’s enclosure should absorb moisture and be easy to spot clean.
While there are many substrates to choose from, Reptile.Guide recommends using bark chips or coco husk as a substrate.
ATB’s should be kept on a slightly moist substrate, so remember to mist your bedding regularly.
Decorations & Accessories
Amazon’s THRIVE in an environment that offers plentiful exercise and enrichment opportunities.
This means that in addition to providing a large enclosure, adding things such as branches, hides, wines, and other similar enclosure accessories should be equally important.
Unlike some snake species who park themselves on a single perch to wrap around, Amazon’s like to try and support much of their body weight as possible, so when you add perches, it’s recommended that you give them a hammock style perch as opposed to the traditional ones.
Possible Health Issues
Similar to other snake species, Amazon Tree Boas are prone to potential health issues including the following:
Snake mites are tiny parasitic bugs that feed off the blood of not only our slithery companions but other reptiles too. Causes of snake mites are:
- Poor hygiene
- Contamination from an infected reptile
- Being wild-caught
- From their substrate
Amazon tree boas are aggressive eaters so overfeeding them can be relatively easy to do.
Just know that overweight ATBs can become very unhealthy, and their weight should be monitored closely to ensure they as healthy and comfortable as possible.
Handling and Bonding
With heat pits on both sides of their mouth which allow them to pick up on small changes in temperature, Amazon’s can oftentimes mistake a warm hand for prey items!
For this reason, we recommend that you keep handling to an absolute minimum. And if you do, use a snake hook.
Baby Amazon Tree Boas
Amazon Tree Boa babies can be acquired for approximately $60 – $100.
Some of the most common baby Amazon Tree Boa morphs and colors available for sale include:
- Garden Phase
- Colored Phase
Generally, you can expect baby ATB’s to inherit the undertone colors of their parents.
But the reality is that when it comes to breeding them, you never really know what you’re going to get in terms of color and appearance.
You could have some look like mom, dad, something in between, or completely different!
If you’re interested in breeding Amazon Tree Boas, you can start as early as 3 years (depending on their size), but generally 4 years old is better.
All in all, this is the age when snakes tend to reach sexual maturity (between 3 and 4) ard ATB’s are no exception.
⭐️ Fun Fact: The paradox gene in tree boas, the method of inheritance is not the same compared to a paradox in other species. A paradox is more frequent.
Reproduction method: Live bearing snakes
The gestation period ranges from 116 up to 137 days, but the average is 130 days.
So there you have it! Here was everything you needed to know about Amazon Tree Boas. Did we miss something you think should be included? Let us know in the comment section below!