Rainbow boa

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Rainbow boa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Boidae
Subfamily: Boinae
Genus: Epicrates
Species: E. cenchria
Binomial name
Epicrates cenchria
(Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Boa cenchria Linnaeus, 1754
  • [Boa] Cenchria Linnaeus, 1758
  • Coluber tamachia Scopoli, 1788
  • Boa Cenchris Gmelin, 1788
  • Boa aboma Daudin, 1803
  • Boa ternatea Daudin, 1803
  • Boa annulifer Daudin, 1803
  • [Epicrates] cenchria
    Wagler, 1830
  • Cliftia fusca Gray, 1849
  • Epicarsius cupreus
    J.G. Fischer, 1856
  • Epicarsius cupreus
    — Brown, 1893
  • Epicrates cenchris
    Boulenger, 1893
  • Epicrates cenchria Griffin, 1916
  • Epicrates cenchria var. fusca
    — Griffin, 1916
  • Epicrates cenchria cenchria
    Amaral, 1930
  • Epicrates cenchria cenchria
    Stull, 1938[1]

Epicrates cenchria is a boa species endemic to Central and South America. Common names include the rainbow boa,[2] and slender boa. A terrestrial species, it is known for its attractive iridescent sheen caused by structural coloration. Nine subspecies are currently recognized, including the nominate subspecies described here.[2]

Geographic range

E. cenchria is found in lower Central America (Costa Rica and Panama), and farther south into South America it occurs east of the Andes roughly reaching northern Argentina (in the provinces: Chaco, Córdoba, Corrientes, Formosa, Salta, Santiago del Estero and Tucumán).


Despite requiring very specific humidity and heat, this species is commonly found in the pet trade. During the 1980s and early 1990s, substantial numbers were exported from Suriname. Today, however, far fewer are exported, and most offered for sale are captive bred.[3] Due to their need for high humidity in a captive environment, they should be considered of intermediate difficulty for snake owners, but as long as that is provided they can thrive in captivity. Younger specimens will often bite because of natural defensive instincts, but tend to calm down as they become used to handling.


Subspecies[2] Taxon author[2] Common name Geographic range
E. c. alvarezi Abalos, Baez & Nader, 1964 Argentine rainbow boa
E. c. assisi Machado, 1945 Caatinga rainbow boa
E. c. barbouri Stull, 1938 Marajo Island rainbow boa
E. c. cenchria (Linnaeus, 1758) Brazilian rainbow boa
E. c. crassus (Cope, 1862) Paraguayan rainbow boa
E. c. gaigeae Stull, 1938 Peruvian rainbow boa
E. c. hygrophilus Amaral, 1935 Espirito Santo rainbow boa
E. c. maurus Gray, 1849 Colombian rainbow boa
E. c. polylepis Amaral, 1935 Central highland rainbow boa


See also


  1. McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Washington, District of Colombia: Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Epicrates cenchria". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 10 July 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Brazilian Rainbow Boa at Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Accessed 12 November 2008.

External links