Active at night, the Jamaican boa seeks out prey by detecting chemical signals with its forked tongue as it moves stealthily through the trees. Once located, this species usually employs an ambush strategy, staying motionless until the animal comes within range. It then strikes swiftly, holding the victim in place with its needle-like teeth, while enveloping it in coils of its muscular body. Each time the prey exhales, the boa tightens its grip until eventually asphyxiation occurs, after which the animal is swallowed whole (3). Adults mainly feed upon rodents, bats and birds, while juveniles usually take lizards and frogs (2). While this species typically inhabits trees, as its habitat becomes increasingly altered, it is also being observed hunting on the ground. During the day, the Jamaican boa seeks refuge in dense foliage, tree hollows, cracks in rocks, or in underground burrows, although, in the early morning, it may be seen basking on rocks to raise its body temperature (3).
The Jamaican boa mates between February and April, with the onset of the breeding season stimulated by change in temperature, day length and rainfall. Females choose a mate by scent, selecting males which produce the most attractive pheromones. The female may mate with several males in a single breeding season, with each mating event lasting up to 24 hours, during which the two snakes’ bodies stay tightly intertwined. After fertilisation, the eggs are retained in the body, where they are nourished by yolk reserves for around six to seven months before hatching. The young, which may number between 5 and 44 individuals, are born live, each measuring around 50 centimetres in length. Captive specimens of the Jamaican boa have been known to live for over 30 years (3).