In this article, we will answer the following question: Will a boa constrictor attack a human? We will talk about the precautions one should take when holding a snake, but also discussed the behavior of snakes and how we can keep both them and ourselves safe.
Will a boa constrictor attack a human?
Usually, a boa constrictor will not attack humans, they will always try to flee from a confrontation. Nevertheless, let’s not forget where the name of this snake comes from, “constrictor“, meaning that the method of killing of this type of snake is to wrap itself around the victim and tighten its grip until the prey stops breathing.
The boa constrictor is one of the longest snakes in the world. It reaches a length of several meters, the maximum length of the body can be 3 to 4 meters, although many specimens remain smaller.
These snakes can be dangerous as pets because anyone who will let it wrap around and squeeze, has no escape. This would be the only instance in which we can say that yes, a boa constrictor can attack a human.
In practice, animals over three meters long are rare and a specimen around 4 meters is already exceptional. The maximum body length of the boa is 4.5 meters.
The body is so muscular because the snake lives in the trees and anchors itself with the body, also the prey dies by strangulation. The snake can weigh more than 25 kilograms and despite its great flexibility, the animal is not very fast.
The body color is predominantly light brown with a dark web drawn all over the body. The color can vary slightly from brown to grayish or sometimes pinkish. The pattern of the network consists of a pattern of darker and lighter dots, the pattern is however variable. The exact color pattern of the snake even varies from individual to individual. The spots are usually round in shape and are located on the back and flanks.
The head is small and flattened back, the head is slightly flattened wedge-shaped. The head is brown in color and has a dark streak-like patch on both sides that runs from slightly behind the tip of the nose to the corner of the mouth.
The boa constrictor feeds primarily on rodents, birds, and smaller reptiles such as lizards. The snake strangles its prey and then swallows it in one go.
Safety rules: Keep the snake in its terrarium
Depending on its size, it will be necessary to opt for a more or less large space, and depending on the type of snake that we have chosen as a pet, its habitat and temperature will have to be adapted so that it is in a pleasant environment.
If we leave the animal out of the terrarium, it can pose a danger to itself and to the rest of the inhabitants of the house. Although we believe that we can tame it to live with humans, we must never forget that a snake is a wild animal that struggles to survive.
Outside the terrarium, the snake can suffer multiple accidents due to being hit by a household utensil or being exposed to temperatures that are not adequate. Not to mention that certain species can bite someone if they feel vulnerable. We must pay special attention if there are other pets in the same house, especially small ones, which can become infused by the reptile.
The same happens if there are small children in the home. It is not advisable to have a pet snake with them because they may see it as a mere toy, with which to have fun. The reptile will not see it the same, obviously, and will feel attacked, so it can attack the little ones.
If a snake escapes
As we mentioned before, a snake is a wild animal, used to looking for its own food and surviving in nature. Hence, the comforts of a home and having an owner who provides the food and suits the stay are not something that ‘impresses’ them, or even that they might like. Hence, they will not hesitate to go exploring abroad as soon as they have the chance. That is why you have to monitor them and make sure that they cannot leave the terrarium unless we allow it.
They can do it and not stray too far from their space, or have someone find them before they go beyond the house. At other times they can leave the house and sneak into the neighbors’ or a nearby green space, where they will feel really comfortable. However, that’s when they pose a danger. If they approach someone they do not know, they will feel intimidated and can cause a dangerous situation.
Not to mention that, if they enter a green area, such as a park or near a river, it will be very difficult to find the animal and return it home. It will be more comfortable in a wild space from which it will be very difficult to recover. In this case, it can pose a danger to anyone who comes across the snake by chance.
The boa constrictor (Boa constrictor) is a snake in the giant snake family (Boidae). The boa is one of the best-known strangler snake species and is often kept in zoos.
The boa is found in the New World, in parts of Central and South America, from Mexico to southern Brazil. It is a little specialized species that can be found on the edges of deserts as well as in tropical forests or swamps. The snake is common throughout much of its range and is therefore not considered an endangered species.
The behavior of a boa constrictor
The boa constrictor is active at night, resting in trees during the day. Hollow trees and cavities between the stones are also used. The snake coils itself, keeping its head in the middle of the body loops. In the colder parts of the range, the animals are also active during the day. These specimens also have to bask more often to maintain their body temperature.
The boa is basically a bottom dweller, like many other large snakes. The body does not protrude on the forest floor, as it mimics the leaves. However, the snake is rarely found on the ground; the boa is a very good climber and spends much of its life in a tree. Here the prey is hunted and rested during the day. The preference for life in trees changes as the snake grows larger and heavier.
Very large specimens move more on the forest floor than younger animals. They are too heavy to move on thin branches and at best climb a tree to rest on thicker branches. The boa is also unable to move from tree to tree, as is known from other typical boas. Examples of these tree specialists are the dog-headed green boas and the green tree python.
Most dangerous species of snakes to have as pets
When choosing a snake as a pet there are a number of species that we should rule out from the beginning. These are those that are considered the most dangerous and that with just biting a human being capable of transmitting enough poison to kill them. In this sense, you should never have at home, no matter how exotic they may seem, a cobra, a viper, a taipan, or a black mamba.
On the contrary, boas constrictors or pythons are more docile snakes and easier to care for in a house. Even so, it must be taken into account that it is still a wild animal so if they think they are in a dangerous situation they will attack whoever gets ahead of them. They can do this by biting and injecting a poison that can be more or less lethal.
But it is not the only way a snake attacks a human being. Do not forget that it is a wild animal used to surviving in nature. Given their length (it must be taken into account that in adulthood most of them exceed two meters in length and touch 50 kilograms) they can curl around a person’s neck and strangle them until they completely cut off their breath.
Are snakes afraid of humans?
Snakes are no more afraid of humans than any other animal in the ecosystem. This fear is, in fact, a defensive mechanism because snakes (like many other animals) do not want to be killed.
If we talk about the snake as a pet, it can gradually get used to your presence, so it will not consider you a possible danger. And if you know how to behave with it, your relationship can be (as much as possible) harmonious.
But never forget that snakes are and will remain wild animals, predators, even those that were born in captivity. They do not recognize their “owner”, they just learn not to be aggressive when you decide to hold it, for example. It can gradually learn to tell the difference between when you feed it and when you want to socialize with it.
You should know that the most important thing when handling a snake is to be calm but alert. All unknown snakes must be treated as if they were poisonous, you must never handle an unknown snake with your bare hands. Better to use a snake pit or stick and keep your hands away.
The most critical moment is to grab them inside the terrarium. You always have to take them with both hands, offering 2 support points to distribute the weight and make them feel safe. Use some tricks for their manipulation to avoid any surprise.
For example, always try to put your hand slowly on it and always make sure that the animal’s head is facing the opposite side. Once you grab it and lift it, you are almost done.
When it comes to giant snakes things can be different, you always have to be alert, since an angry animal of this size can be dangerous. A giant snake is understood to be anything that exceeds 3 meters.
With these sizes, you will always have to manipulate the animal between two people and give it some good support points, so that the animal does not believe that it is going to fall and tries to hold on to us strongly.
The bottom line
A boa constrictor is not a venomous snake and it has no reason to attack a human. However, due to the fact that its size can exceed three meters, we would not recommend handling the snake while alone in the room, or if you are not properly trained!
When we are faced with this type of reptile in the wild, we tend to move away or even run away. But snakes are not as dangerous as the fear that some people have. Before attacking, the snakes send us a message, they remain almost immobile, waiting for us to continue on our way, so we must calmly walk away.
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FAQ on Will a boa constrictor attack a human?
Do snakes run away from humans?
No, snakes don’t usually run away from humans. Most snakes rely on their camouflage to avoid any possible danger. But some snakes may hiss or even attack if they feel threatened.
Why are snakes afraid of humans?
The snakes are afraid that humans will kill them. This is why you have to be careful around a snake and know how to behave. The snake is a predator, even if it was born in captivity.
How do Snakes see humans?
Snakes see humans through their pit organs, which helps them detect infrared radiation from warm bodies up to one meter away. The pot organs also help the snakes see during the night their predator or prey as an infrared camera does.
Why won’t my boa constrictor eat?
Your boa constrictor won’t eat because of either natural causes or due to health problems. You should make sure that the temperature and the humidity in the terrarium are adequate; that it likes the food that you are offering. You should also consult a veterinarian specialized in exotic animals.
Live Science – Why we fear snakes
National Geographic – Snakes, facts and information
Pet Place – How snakes behave