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Boa de Madagascar © François-Gilles Grandin - MNHN

The Madagascar tree boa

The Madagascar tree boa, Sanzinia madagascariensis, is an arboreal snake from the boidae family which lives in the tropical forest.


Class, order and family :
Reptilia, Squamata, Boidae
Life span :
up to 20 years
Size & Weight :
between 1.5 m and 2.3 m
Gestation period :
4-6 months, around 15 babies
Natural habitat :
tropical forest
Diet :
carnivore – rodents, birds
Native region :
Statut UICN : 

Least Concern (LC)


Madagascar boas are ovoviviparous, which means the female produces eggs, but keeps them inside her body. The young are therefore born fully formed and active (1 - 16 baby snakes at a time). Immediately after they are born, the young snakes leave their mother and fend for themselves. The young are more arboreal than the adults and are therefore more often to be found up above in the trees.

Distinctive features

This boa is endemic to Madagascar. Its colour differs depending on its geographical spread: in the rainforests to the east of the island, the individuals are green, but in the drier forests of the west, they tend to be more orange. They also differ in size, those in the west being larger.


The Madagascar boa hunts at night. It uses special heat-sensitive labial pits located around its mouth which allow it to detect the heat generated by its prey.