Madagascar ground boa (Acrantophis madagascariensis)

Madagascar ground boa
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Madagascar ground boa fact file

Madagascar ground boa description

GenusAcrantophis (1)

The Madagascar ground boa (Acrantophis madagascariensis) is a relatively large, heavy-bodied, ground-dwelling snake. Its colouration comprises a pattern of brown, tan and black, helping to camouflage it against the leaf litter in its habitat (4).

Also known as
Madagascar boa, Madagascar boa constrictor, Malagasy ground boa.
Boa de Madagascar, Boa des savanes de Madagascar.
Boa de Madagascar meridional.
Length: Length: up to 3.2 metres (2)

Madagascar ground boa biology

A terrestrial species, the adult Madagascar ground boa is cathemeral, while juveniles are usually nocturnal. The diet of this species mainly consists of rodents, bats, tenrec (Tenrec ecaudatus), lemurs and ducks (1), which are killed by constriction (5).

All boas are viviparous, giving birth to well-developed, live young (6). The Madagascar ground boa gives birth to litters of between two and six young (1) after an eight to nine month gestation period (4). The newborn boa will immediately fend for itself and begin to hunt for food (5)


Madagascar ground boa range

The Madagascar ground boa is endemic to Madagascar, where it is found in the north and west of the island, up to elevations of 800 metres (1)


Madagascar ground boa habitat

The Madagascar ground boa inhabits areas of humid and dry forest (1). It is found in both intact and disturbed habitats, including arable land surrounding villages (1)


Madagascar ground boa status

The Madagascar ground 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


Madagascar ground boa threats

In some areas, people in Madagascar collect boas to consume as food. These strikingly patterned snakes have also been attractive to both the pet market and the leather industry, with reports of the collection of boas in the Marovoay area to supply a domestic leather trade (7). In some areas, the Madagascar ground boa is killed by humans as it is believed to be bad luck and predates on domestic poultry (1).

However, there is currently insufficient information available to assess the long-term effects of these threats to populations of the Madagascar ground boa, and as it is able to tolerate degraded habitats, this species is not currently considered threatened (1).


Madagascar ground boa conservation

Due to their popularity in the pet market and the leather industry, large snakes have received particular attention by international trade regulation. The inclusion of the Madagascar ground boa under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) effectively bans its export from Madagascar and import into other countries (3). As long as international trade is prohibited or regulated, internal trade and consumption by humans is thought unlikely to constitute a serious danger to these animals (7).

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

Find out more

Discover more about the Madagascar ground boa and reptile conservation:



Authenticated (10/02/2006) by Dr. Tony Phelps, Squamate Ecologist and founder of the Cape Reptile Institute.



Active intermittently throughout the day and night, rather than exclusively during the day or night.
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
Active at night.
Giving birth to live offspring that develop inside the mother’s body.


  1.  IUCN Red List (December, 2011)
  2. Corlett, R. and Primack, R. (2011) TropicalRain Forests. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, UK.
  3. CITES (December, 2011)
  4. Wagner, D. (1996) Boas. Barron’s Educational Series, New York.
  5. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  6. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  7. Vences, M. and Glaw, F. (2003) Phylogeography, systematics and conservation status of boid snakes from Madagascar (Sanzinia and Acrantophis). Salamandra, 39: 181-206. Available at:

Image credit

Madagascar ground boa  
Madagascar ground boa

© Jörn Köhler

Jörn Köhler
Department of Zoology
Hessisches Landesmuseum
Friedensplatz 1
Fax: +49 (6151) 165765


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