Differences Between Emerald Tree Boas and Green Tree Pythons

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Green boa
Photo by: Marcel Langthim on Pixabay

Both emerald tree boas and green tree pythons are snakes commonly kept as pets; however, they are also commonly confused with one another. While both snakes are green in coloring, grow to about five to six feet long and live in similar conditions, they differ greatly in their country of origin, their head shape and how they give birth, among other factors.

What Makes Emerald Tree Boas and Green Tree Pythons Different?

Both emerald tree boas and green tree pythons originate in tropical rainforests, but these boas can only be found in South America, while the pythons can only be found in New Guinea, Australia and Indonesia, making their origins oceans apart. However, because they are both from rainforests, their natural habitats are very similar, and this makes their care in captivity similar as well.

These two types of snakes have differences in the appearance of their head, scales and body shape, too. While the boas have a square nose and large, evenly shaped scales, the pythons have rounder noses and smaller, uneven scales on their head and body. Boas also tend to grow a bit stockier and may grow to be longer than their python counterparts.

Digging deeper, anyone who has bred either of these snakes will know that, although both do reproduce with eggs, emerald tree boas appear to give birth to live babies because these boa mothers carry their eggs to term instead of laying a clutch as pythons do. Boas also have the largest fangs of any nonvenomous snake in the world, making their bite more powerful than any python’s, and they tend to be on the slightly aggressive side when pet owners try to handle them.

How Big Should an Emerald Tree Boa’s Tank Be?

Juvenile boas do fine in small enclosures, and a space of only 1 foot wide, 1 foot tall and 1 foot deep will work for them. For adults, the height of the enclosure is not much of a concern, but horizontal space is necessary because these snakes like to move from branch to branch both in the wild and in captivity. To make your boa’s habitat ideal, offer a tank at least 3 feet wide, 2 feet tall and 2 feet deep, and add plenty of faux branches and perches for your snake to climb.

What Is the Best Enclosure for a Green Tree Python?

Pythons are very similar to boas in how they like their enclosures to be set up. Just like boas, they need plenty of horizontal cage space with added branches, and a tank of at least 3 feet wide, 2 feet tall and 2 feet deep will work well for them. Baby pythons can also be placed in one-foot cubic spaces.

Tanks for both boas and pythons should include a warm basking area heated with a reptile lamp of about 86 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Both snakes also like a tank humidity between 60 to 80 percent although boas can tolerate a humidity as low as 40 percent.

Which Snake Is Right for Me?

Both of these snakes require specific tank temperatures and humidity levels, so it’s recommended that intermediate reptile owners already familiar with using hand or electric misters, basking lights and humidity readers, care for them. Both snakes can also become aggressive when not handled properly although boas are known to bite more often than pythons.

That being said, if you are an experienced reptile owner who has cared for other snake breeds in the past, consider giving the tree boa a try. Although challenging, caring for this animal can be highly rewarding. On the other hand, if you don’t feel you are ready to handle a snake capable of strong bites, consider a green tree python for a pet. Although still somewhat aggressive, this snake is easier to handle than the emerald boa.

About the Author
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Dustin Williams

Dustin Williams is a third generation aquarist and tropical fish fanatic. He grew up surrounded by various pets including; dogs, cats, turtles, hamsters and of course, aquarium fish. He has owned his own aquarium since Y2K and is experienced in keeping all types of freshwater tropical fish. He currently owns a 67 gallon tank with various African Cichlids and writes content for his personal aquarium website.... Learn More

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