Dumeril’s boa (Acrantophis dumerili)

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Dumeril's boa on leaf litter
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Dumeril’s boa fact file

Dumeril’s boa description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyBoidae
GenusAcrantophis (1)

Dumeril’s boa (Acrantophis dumerili) is a relatively large, heavy-bodied, ground-dwelling snake. It is intricately patterned in brown, tan and black, and has glossy black markings around the mouth, with its mottled colouration providing excellent camouflage when lying in the leaf litter of its dry forest habitat (2) (4). Some individuals of Dumeril’s boa exhibit large amounts of pink or copper colouration (2)

Also known as
Madagascar ground boa.
French
Boa de Duméril, Boa des savanes de Duméril.
Size
Adult length: 180 - 210 cm (2)
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Dumeril’s boa biology

The adult Dumeril’s boa is cathemeral, whereas juveniles are mostly nocturnal. This species is an ambush predator (4), with a diet consisting mainly of terrestrial vertebrates such as mammals and birds, as well as domestic poultry (1) (4), which are all killed by constriction (4). Dumeril’s boa lacks the heat-sensitive facial pits present in many other boas, which are used to detect warm-blooded prey (4).

Dumeril’s boa is viviparous, giving birth to litters of 6 to 13 live, relatively large young (1) (4) (6). The gestation period of this species is approximately seven months (2)

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Dumeril’s boa range

Dumeril’s boa is endemic to Madagascar, where it is widespread in the south and southwest of the island, up to elevations of 1,300 metres (1) (2).

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Dumeril’s boa habitat

Dumeril’s boa is found in dry forest and thorn bushes at low and mid-elevations. It is also found in savannas on the central highlands (1), but is not restricted to pristine habitats (5). It has been found living in degraded habitats, often close to villages, where it presumably feeds on rats (5).

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Dumeril’s boa status

Dumeril’s boa is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1), and is listed on Appendix I of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Dumeril’s boa threats

In some areas, this snake is collected for food and its skin is used for leather (5). It is also killed due to the belief that it is bad luck and is likely to predate domestic chickens (1). Dumeril’s boa is also highly desirable in the pet trade (5). This adaptable snake appears to be able to withstand the degradation of forest habitat, and is not currently considered to be highly threatened (1)

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Dumeril’s boa conservation

Dumeril’s boa is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), meaning that international trade in wild specimens is banned (3). Furthermore, it occurs in a number of nature reserves and so receives a level of protection in these areas. Local consumption of Dumeril’s boa for food is unlikely to severely threaten this species while international trade is banned. The habitat of Dumeril’s boa is also under threat due to habitat destruction for agriculture and livestock grazing (5).

More information on the ecology and distribution of Dumeril’s boa is needed to aid in its conservation (1)

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

More information on Dumeril’s boa and reptile conservation:

  • Vences, M. and Glaw, F. (2003) Phylogeography, systematics and conservation status of boid snakes from Madagascar (Sanzinia and Acrantophis). Salamandra, 39: 181-206.
  • International Reptile Conservation Foundation:
    http://www.ircf.org/
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Authentication

Authenticated (10/02/2006) by Dr. Tony Phelps, Squamate Ecologist and founder of the Cape Reptile Institute.
http://www.crepinstitute.co.za/

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Glossary

Cathemeral
Active intermittently throughout the day and night, rather than exclusively during the day or night.
Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Gestation
The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
Nocturnal
Active at night.
Vertebrate
An animal with a backbone, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.
Viviparous
Giving birth to live offspring that develop inside the mother’s body.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (December, 2011)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. Wagner, D. (1996) Boas. Barron’s Educational Series, New York.
  3. CITES (December, 2011)
    http://www.cites.org/
  4. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  5. Vences, M. and Glaw, F. (2003) Phylogeography, systematics and conservation status of boid snakes from Madagascar (Sanzinia and Acrantophis). Salamandra, 39: 181-206.
  6. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
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Image credit

Dumeril's boa on leaf litter  
Dumeril's boa on leaf litter

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