Rainbow Boa


Rainbow boa, also known as ‘slender boa’, is one of the most beautiful snake species out there, with a rather colorful body and a distinct iridescent sheen that gets its name. There are 5 recognized subspecies found throughout Central and South America.

Scientific Classifications

  • Suborder:Serpentes
  • Family:Boidae
  • Genus:Epicrates
  • Species:E. cenchria

Conservation Status

Not EvaluatedNE

Not Evaluated

Data DeficientDD

Data Deficient

Least ConcernLC

Least Concern

Near ThreatenedNT

Near Threatened





Critically EndangeredCR

Critically Endangered

Extinct in the wildEW

Extinct in the wild



Subspecies and Morphs

Full Grown Rainbow Boa
Adult Rainbow Boa

The rainbow boa has 5 subspceis, including the nominate subspecies of the Brazilian Rainbow Boa.

  • Marajo Island rainbow boa (E. c. barbouri)
  • Brazilian rainbow boa (E. c. cenchria)
  • Peruvian rainbow boa (E. c. gaigeae)
  • Espirito Santo rainbow boa (E. c. hygrophilus)
  • Central highland rainbow boa (E. c. polylepis)

One of the most popular boas to be kept as pets, the rainbow boa has numerous morphs. The most common ones are:

  • Ghost
  • Calico
  • Eugene Calico
  • Albino T-
  • Leucistic
  • Anerythristic
  • Wipeout
  • Caramel
  • Pied
  • Pastel
  • Hypomelanisitic
  • High Red Normals
  • Pinstripe
  • Bullseye
  • Chocolate
  • Riso Xanthic
  • Picasso Stripe
  • Candy StripeTed Thompson Stripe
  • Pearl/Zebra Stripe
  • Eugene Stripe



They grow up to 4-6 feet in length. Adult females are noticeably longer and broader than males.

Color and Appearance

Its beautiful iridescent color is this soft-skinned snake’s most striking physical feature. Though there are color variations between subspecies, they all have tiny ridges covering their scales that work as tiny prisms to refract light – hence the rainbow sheen.

These snakes are basically brown, with or without a reddish hue. The head is wider than their neck, with three black stripes on the top. The neck and dorsal side of the body is covered with black rings with reddish or orange markings.
Adult males have rather noticeable spurs on either side of their anal vent.

Are they Dangerous

Like most other boas, these non-venomous snakes do not pose any serious threat to humans. However, they have sharp hooked teeth for tightly gripping their prey, so they can inflict a rather painful bite and even draw blood. But since they are relatively docile, they would not get aggressive unless cornered or mishandled.

Bites are more common when handling or training a new pet rainbow boa.

Brazilian Rainbow Boa
Rainbow Boa Snake
Rainbow Boa Constrictor

At a Glance


From lower Central America to South America, in Costa Rica and Panama, as well as the Amazon River basin, French Guiana, coastal Guyana, southern Venezuela, and Suriname, down to northern Argentina


Primarily terrestrial, they prefer hot and humid woodlands and forests but can also be found in savannas.

They like to climb up large bushes and trees mainly to rest. Often acknowledged as good swimmers, they may also spend time in waterbodies.


Up to 20-30 years with proper care


Rodents, birds, lizards, and some aquatic animals; In captivity, they can eat frozen mice.

These snakes are constrictors and are semi-arboreal, preferring to hunt on the forest floor.


Birds of prey and certain small carnivores


Gives birth to live young (Ovoviviparous)

The snakes reach sexual maturity between 2.5 and 4 years when the males are about 4 feet (1.2 meters) long, and the females are about 4.5 feet (1.4 meters). The males mate with multiple females during their breeding season between November and January. Rainbow boas have a rather long gestation period of around 5 months, after which they give birth to 12-25 hatchlings, about 15-20 inches long.

Baby Rainbow Boa
Epicrates cenchria
Brazilian Rainbow Boa Full Grown

Care Sheet


Docile and occasionally aggressive; need to get used to regular handling

Size of the Enclosure

For younger snakes (up to 2 feet), a 10-20 gallon tank would be enough. Adult snakes need more space, so a 48” x24” x24” enclosure would be ideal.


Good quality reptile mulch like coconut husk, cypress mulch, and wood shavings.


Around 95% for juveniles; 75-90% for adults


70-75°F during the night; 80-85°F during daytime


They do not require special UV lighting. A 40W spotlight can be used for the hot spot in the tank, but since these boas do not like to bask, the light need not be left on for long.


Q. Do Brazilian rainbow boas make good pets for beginners?

Ans. They are not suitable for people with no experience in taking care of snakes and reptiles, because these snakes need careful and frequent handling before they can get used to their owner. They can even get pretty aggressive during the initial stage of taming them.

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