Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Happy Birthday Emerald Tree Boas!

Como Zoo's Emerald Tree Boas are one year old!  Twenty neonates were born in January 2013 from the same parents who had offspring in 2011.  Emerald tree boas are born brick red and start changing color around 6-9 months of age; with red becoming orange and eventually green; a process called ontogenesis.  The white markings do not change from juvenile to adulthood.   Many species of snakes have different color phases as they age.

These boas are arboreal and native to the tropical rainforests of South America.  Their “emerald” green coloration provides perfect camouflage during adult years when they are found in the canopy of the rainforest.  The reddish juvenile coloration is thought to provide camouflage in the lower part of the rainforest where it is darker and shadowy.  Juvenile emeralds find protection from predators and abundant food in the lower forest areas.  As they mature (and change color), they will move higher into the rainforest's upper canopy.

The pictures show their newborn coloration, 8-9 month transition phase, and adult coloration now at one year old.  Happy 1st Birthday Emeralds!

Red coloration of neonates
8-9 months old coloration

Adult coloration