EMERALD TREE BOA
GEOGRAPHY Emeralds can be found in tropical rainforests in South America including,Brazil,Columbia,Venezuela,Ecuador,Suriname,Guyana, Peru,,Bolivia,and the Amazon Basin.Emeralds tend to differ somewhat in coloration and size from different regions.Most imports and emeralds in the states are from guyana and suriname.Some specimens may lack a pattern completely and be a solid green these specimens are from the guyana region.Most emeralds lack lateral white markings except those from peru and certain amazon basin specimens.Overall the belly is a cream color,except specimens from the amazon basin may have a completely yellow belly.Of course they are found high or low in the tree tops of the rainforest and are completely arboreal,having laterally compressed bodies.
CAREWell these snakes have been notouriously known for being harder than alot of snakes to acclimate as imports.I would agree with that but also will admit their are far harder snakes to acclimate to captivity than emeralds.Two that come to my mind that are far harder and I have worked with both are moellendorf rat snakes and mandarin rat snakes.Now those are tough!Emeralds are really not that bad if they are kept in certain ways to keep the stress down and get them used to their new surroundings.O.K. first things first,these guys need HIGH humidity,especially imports.Imports should have at least 85% humidity.With that said and that being THE most important aspect to keeping imported emeralds lets work on the second most important thing,de parastizing.This can not be underestimated! Emeralds are notourious for throwing up their food and yes it is a common problem in imports most will have this problem.It stems from three things which are killer to emeralds one parasites,two stress,and three low humidity.O.K.so keep humidity high that eliminates one,never hold your emerald for a few months after you receive it keep it covered up and do not walk in front of the enclosure all that much.Make sure it has a night time period do not leave the lights on 24 hours.That should cure the stress part of the matter.Now for one of the most important and overlooked matter in imported emeralds de parasitizing.ManyFirst time emerald owners are novices and this is often overlooked.I have a regimine that I use for imported snakes that are either very thin or throwing up their food.First let me say this.Emeralds have a very slow metabolism and they do not digest food very fast.To add to this they are not very active snakes.So they do not need to be fed all that often and they do not need large prey items.Feeding an emerald to much to soon or to large of a prey item can cause regurgitation even in healthy emearlds.That said.I have used succesfully a mixture of different anti parasitic drugs, first panacur this gets rid of the worms and such that may hurt the animal in captivity,second is flagyl this kills many strains of protozoans that can definately cause regurg in any snake,third is something called Nutri Biotic.It is a grapefruit extract derivitive and I have used this drug many times with Huge success.It does not seem to be toxic even in large doses and is used for humans for a variety of ailments including flu soar throat diarrhea and a few other things so feel free to take a swig of it yourself!Anyway I use the nutri biotic to wash down the panacur and flagyl so it reaches the stomach it works great!It is an anti bacterial and anti viral drug and may cure things that the flagyl can not cure who knows maybe it can cure I.B.D.?There are also some new over the counter human drugs that are anti fungal bacterial and viral!And I will be experimenting with these soon hopefully they will work as well or better than the nutri biotic.I also would use oral baytril it is an anti biotic.Of course you will have to go to your vet to obtain most of these drugs but they work together well.I give once every week for three weeks at appropriate doses for each.Then I will repeat in another month the same way and then after that in two months and then you are finished!Make sure to do the administering fast so it does not upset the emerald too much.Because of this I usually give the drugs all together in one shot so it is just a once a week thing.If an emerald is throwing up first do not feed it for a while maybe two weeks, this will let the stomach lining recover from the trauma.Check the humidity and make sure it is around 100%.Make sure it has a basking branch in the hugh 80s to lie on.Then when you feed it again use a smaller sized food item emeralds do not need a lot of food any how.Which brings up feeding imports.One thing to remember is that the snakes stress very easily.And they will probably not feed for you for a while after you get them assuming you buy wild caught.I have never had a wild caught emerald that prefered birds like some suggest most will eat mice or small rats as the first meal.However there always is one in the bunch that would rather eat chicks so they may be tried if rodents are not eaten.I have noticed that those little import babies enjoy prey far bigger than them.They would rather eat a fuzzy rat than a pinky .So keep that in mind the imported babies like fuzzy animals.However the problem is that this sometimes will make them regurgitate and not digest the food.It seems that the magic number is four.If your emerald can keep the prey down for four days it will usually be digested.They typically throw up between 2 and 3 days.I have battled this syndrom in one of my emeralds for two whole years before the animal succombed to starvation.The ribs started to protrude and it could not hold anything down,poor girl.Force feeding emeralds is not an option!They stress very easily and force feeding will only add to this stress and make it refuse to feed.The only reason an emerald should be force fed is if you beleive the animal is endanger of starvation,the ribs protruding ect.Imports may want to feed at night and are active usually only at night so a dead prey item may be left in the enclosure.However most likely they would rather take food from tongs.Make sure the emerald does not see you and offer pre killed prey with tongs to the animal.Alot of people suggest pinching the tail or rubbing the tail with the food item to illicit a strike and a feeding response and I admit they hate being touched by the tail and may turn to strike but rarely do they take the food item after the bite.This does however seem to work on juveniles better than adults but in my experience try juvies like this but leave the adults be you will just stress the animal and will prolong acclimation if you try this too often.This is another animal that you need to be patient with by experience most emeralds will come around and feed after a while. Emeralds should be kept in the low 80s with a hot spot around 88'.Of course they will need plenty of branches to climb on.One warning watch the branch the emerald is lying on closely.At the humidity levels that they need mold grows rapidly.A snake may lay on the moldy branch and then be attacked by the same mold and it will cause an infection in the snake it is a dumb way to lose an emerald trust me I know!This is why natural branches should be water sealed with uerethane or plastic before being entered into the enclosure.P.V.C. pipe also works well but lets face it A beautiful emerald lying on p.v.c does not look very natural but if you do not mind it can be cleaned and it works well!Plants will add to the humidity in the enclosure and may make the emerald feel a little more at home.They seem to perk up when a nice plant is inserted in the enclosure.It looks to me as if it smells more like home than looks more like home which I think is more important to a snake.Make sure the plant is about 10 inches from a u.v.b. imiting light however keep it away from the heat source.Incedentally the best heat for emeralds is probably acheived with the new infrared heat panels for birds.It is not hot enough to burn the animal and emmits no light.Substrate may be mulch or cork bark this will keep humidity high.Often you will wonder if your emerald is doing well because it is not active when you see them however if you sneak up on them at night you will usually find them with a face full of mulch as they make their way to the ground and become more active.It seems like a totally different animal at night.Water bowls should not be too large.I have had eneralds die from drowning and I thought I was the only one but after talking with a friend found he had some also die from drowning in a deep water container.So do not put a deep water container in the enclosure for recent imports at least.Some say they will not drink from water bowls however I think they do at night.These snakes hate to be sprayed usually flopping off the branch they were lying on if sprayed,so if you think it is not drinking from the container spray the sides of the enclosure not directly on the emerald.The emerald also has a bad rap for being vicious and mean.I have had many imported emeralds and most are very handleable not striking at all.But beware of the teeth as they can inflict what I can imagine is a very painful bite.
FEEDING Juveniles are usually good feeders captive born or otherwise.The relative green tree python is 20 times harder to get going as hatchlings.Juveniles are large enough to eat small pinkie rats.Or small fuzzy mice.They should be fed only about once a week when small.When they become 2 or 3' they should only be fed once every two weeks or so on small rats or mice of appropriate size.When fed too often they will usually become noticeably impacted and may have trouble passing feces.Usually a good warm bath may help or adding a lubricant such as mineral oil to the next feeding.However avoid this and dont feed them alot!When impacted they will lie with the tail hanging off of the branch usually raching the ground or in a water bowl if the cage is not very tall.They will have a noticeable large mass near the cloaca.It is a good idea to sometimes wait until the snake passes the last meal before feeding it again.Warming the dead prey may also help the snakes to feed more readily but watch your face as they may strike at anything when they smell food,and those heat sensing pits will work overtime with your nice warm body in front of them and the rodent so get out of the way!!!
BREEDING In the past emeralds were known for not being very good breeders,however that was probably due to poor management and mis understanding on how to keep these snakes in captivity.To breed emeralds you should gradually lower day light from 12 hours to 8 hours.Night time temps should drop to between 68 and 72 degrees with the usual warm up in the day to offset the cold.This should be done for two months.Frequent spraying before introduction may also help.Incedentally do not keep males together as they may combat and bite.Emeralds should be kept solitary until introduction for breeding because serious bites have occured!Emeralds may typically copulate at night but not always so.Females should have good body weight before breeding.Since they may not feed once they have bred.They should then be given a warm spot of 95' to bask in as they will definately use this spot.If this spot is not given she may throw many if not all still born young.The gestation period is usually five or six months at these temps.Birth is given to between 5 and 10 babies.However 15 and even 20 have occured from very large females.The young are red or green,the amazon basin emeralds may have yellow young.They should be kept with very high humidity also with plenty of branches.A two and a half or five gallon aquarium set up with an inch of water at the bottom and a phillodenderon[did I spell it right?]Work nice and are attractive.They will usually begin feeding after the first shed and will start on fuzzies however there are always the party poopers that want lizard scented items.
INDEX-ADULT SIZE-4 HANDLING-2 HOUSING-2 FEEDING-2-4 TEMPERAMENT-3
NOTES Adult size is a four because they are only around 4 feet however very large specimens can be 6' in length some of the amazon basins can reach 8 or 9'.Handling is a 2 however captive raised can be a 4 feeding is a 2 for imports and 4 for started c.b. or long terms.Temperament is a three for imports they are not as bad as some say and 4 for c.b. as they can be very tame.Emeralds are not a snake that should be handled often they are not really a pet snake but one you own for ornamental beauty you can look but you cant touch!