Madagascar ground boa (Acrantophis madagascariensis)

Also known as: Madagascar boa, Madagascar boa constrictor, Malagasy ground boa
  
French: Boa de Madagascar, Boa des savanes de Madagascar
Spanish: Boa de Madagascar meridional
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyBoidae
GenusAcrantophis (1)
SizeLength: Length: up to 3.2 metres (2)

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).

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).

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). 

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). 

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). 

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).

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).

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.
http://www.crepinstitute.co.za/

  1.  IUCN Red List (December, 2011)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. Corlett, R. and Primack, R. (2011) TropicalRain Forests. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, UK.
  3. CITES (December, 2011)
    http://www.cites.org/
  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:
    http://www.mvences.de/p/p2/Vences_B83.pdf