Are Emerald Tree Boas Good Pets?

Author: Kari | September 22, 2021
boa constrictors, boas, pet emerald tree boas, pet snakes
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Emerald tree boas are beautiful snakes but not always the best pets.
Photo by Hassan Pasha on Unsplash

Straight from the canopy of South American rain forests come the Emerald Tree Boa, a gorgeous bright green serpent that is an uncommonly kept pet, although a great companion. These unique boas get their scientific species name, Corallus caninus, from the "coral" color of their young and "canine"-looking shape of their head.

With proper care and handling, certain varieties of Emerald Tree Boas make excellent reptile friends for new and experienced pet owners. However, not all types of these boas make good pets, and even the ones that do require specialized care.

Are Emerald Tree Boas Aggressive?

One important thing to note about Emerald Tree Boas is that they come from two distinct habitats: the northern parts of Brazil and the southern parts of Brazil and Amazon basin. While the boas that come from the southern habitats are more commonly kept as pets, their northern neighbors are protected under Brazilian law and advised to not be kept as companions. The main reason for this? These two Emerald Tree Boas have very different temperaments.

Northern Emerald Tree Boas are known to be very aggressive and generally do not make for good pets. The government of Brazil created protective laws against capturing these boas mainly to protect unknowing pet owners from buying them for this very reason; however, illegal pet trading still occurs with this northern variety, so anyone deciding to purchase an Emerald Tree Boa from any pet store or trader should ask questions about where the boa originated from.

On the other hand, southern Emerald Tree Boas have a much more docile temperament and are only known to be aggressive around feeding times, as many pet snakes usually are. The southern variety is also known to grow larger, coming in at an adult length of about 7-9 feet, while their northern cousins come in at only 6 feet.

Can You Handle an Emerald Tree Boa?

Because of their temperaments, northern Emerald Tree Boas should not be handled. However, southern Emerald Tree Boas can be handled with some moderation.

These boas have very sensitive tails, and the young are especially prone to tail damage when they are handled improperly. To handle an Emerald Tree Boa, an owner should only use a snake hook to remove the snake from its enclosure, and it helps to only remove the snake during midday hours, when the snake is most awake. If handled during the night, the boa may attempt to bite. And, above all, these boas should never be handled the day before a feeding or for two days after a feeding.

Are Emerald Tree Boas Venomous?

All Emerald Tree Boas are non-venomous. However, they are still very capable of biting, so all owners should still take care when handling an Emerald Tree Boa, whether it is aggressive or not.

How Long Do Emerald Tree Boas Live?

Pet Emerald Tree Boas usually live an upwards of 15 years, a lengthy time for any pet owner. When they are first born, these boas will have a striking red to orange coloring that will gradually change to bright green over the course of a year, so investing time with a young boa is also an amazing journey.

About the Author

Emerald tree boas are beautiful snakes but not always the best pets.


Kari is a long-time pet lover and owner. She has experience raising cats, dogs, rabbits, and aquatic life. Whenever she's not writing, she's probably baking homemade dog treats or camping with her family and their own four-legged friends![...] Author Details

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