Acrantophis Appreciation

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Berkeley Boone
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Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by Berkeley Boone » February 16th, 2013, 5:18 am

Acrantophis is a genus of boa that resides solely in Madagascar. Most hobbyists and enthusiasts are familiar with the Dumeril's Boa, A. dumerilii; but not as many people are aware of its lookalike, the Madagascan Ground Boa, A. madagascariensis. Does anyone else on the forum keep Dumeril's or Ground boas?

The Dumeril's boa is from the southwestern corner of the island. They live in the dry forests there, and use their remarkable camouflage to blend in and remain unseen. Big females may approach 7 feet in length.
Image
dum full by bwboone, on Flickr

Image
dum by bwboone, on Flickr

The Ground boa is from the northeastern corner of the island. Their general habitat requirements are similar, but the forests they live in are much more humid. The Ground boa is the larger of the two species, approaching 9 or sometimes even 10 feet in length.
Image
acamadcamo by bwboone, on Flickr

To me, Acrantophis eyes are fascinating. Even these are camouflaged on the snakes! I think the way they are divided in color is amazing.
Image
acamadhead by bwboone, on Flickr

Image
dum head by bwboone, on Flickr

Even though the two species look superficially alike to the casual observer, upon closer examination there are some telltale differences. Ground boas have large scales that cover the tops of their heads, and their patterns are a lot less sharp. The edges of the various colors are almost blurred, and they have a more geometric look to them. Image
acamadpattern by bwboone, on Flickr

Dumeril's boas have small scales that cover the tops of their heads, and their pattern is much more sharp edged, but more randomly shaped. Dumeril's boas also have an unusual white blotch on their throat, that shows up against an otherwise pale yellow ground color.

Dumeril's boas are by far the more commonly seen of the two species in captive collections. Part of the reason for this is they seem to be pretty easy (and willing) to breed in captivity. Another reason is when the young Dumeril's are born (live, like most other boas), they are small but there are bunches of them. When Ground boas are born, they are considerably larger and there are generally just two or three in a litter.
Image
dumerils by bwboone, on Flickr

Image
acamad1 by bwboone, on Flickr

Thanks for looking. I hope you have enjoyed looking at, and maybe learning a little about these unique snakes.

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Rich in Reptiles
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by Rich in Reptiles » February 16th, 2013, 7:18 am

They are a beautiful species. I enjoyed this post!

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justinm
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by justinm » February 16th, 2013, 2:16 pm

I used to keep and breed Dumerils Boas, never kept the ground boas. These are really neat snakes, I found them to be strong feeders and quiet shy captives.

Kfen
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by Kfen » February 16th, 2013, 2:45 pm

Are those pics from Madagascar? or from you yard? Either way, cool snakes, I had a Mad ground boa about 20 years ago.

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Sam Bacchini
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by Sam Bacchini » February 16th, 2013, 10:26 pm

I've got all three Madagascan boas, the two Acrantophis and Sanzinia. I will try to get some pictures up soon.

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Berkeley Boone
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by Berkeley Boone » February 17th, 2013, 6:28 am

Thanks all, yes, they are some cool snakes.

Thanks Bethany, I am glad you did. Both of these species are quite remarkable!

I agree Justin. Acrantophis really are pretty laid back.

Kfen, these are photos I have taken out in the yard. I will go to Madagascar one day! How big was your ground boa?

Oh wow, Sam, that is pretty cool. I have always thought it would be neat to get a Sanzinia or two to complete the trio. Are you planning on breeding the Sanzinia and the madagascariensis? I'll look forward to your pictures!

--Berkeley

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Sam Bacchini
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by Sam Bacchini » February 18th, 2013, 12:16 am

Thanks Berkeley!

I've bred Dumeril's before though it has been many years. I no longer have those individuals, but have recently acquired a small group of young from a couple of different friends. The A. madagascariensis are too young yet, but they came from a good friend of mine who produced them. The Sanzinia have been copulating on and off, but so far nothing has come of it. They may be too young as well. The same friend who produced the A. madagascariensis got slugs from one of his female Sanzinia, but no live young yet.

A word of warning to anyone interested in breeding Acrantophis, DO NOT put mature males together for pre breeding combat. They are likely to tear each other apart. I never had it happen to me, but the person I sold my original pair to put my male in the same cage as his, and my male killed his. I have since heard that is not unusual with Acrantophis. The males can be really brutal to each other.

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zwhitman
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by zwhitman » February 21st, 2013, 7:43 am

Your ground boas are beautiful. I used to breed dums and have been thinking about adding some ground boas back to the collection...

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Berkeley Boone
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by Berkeley Boone » February 23rd, 2013, 6:38 am

Sam that is crazy about the tenacity of the male Acrantophis! I had not heard that before. Good to know though. Looking forward to those pictures of your groups!

Zwhitman- thanks! If I am lucky enough to breed them, I will let you know.
--Berkeley

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by Kelly Mc » April 10th, 2013, 11:00 am

This was so cool like a lovely seminar in the shade and I could enjoy one of these appreciation threads every month - no pressure :D

Thank you for this ~*~

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regalringneck
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by regalringneck » April 12th, 2013, 4:45 am

... i for one am just blownaway by the fact theres boas in madagascar period, how strange & unlikely is that? Its even more unlikely than a python in mexico, but i guess theres one there too. Yet somehow the entire freaken new world couldn't come up w/ a single decent dang monitor (sans gilas) nor a cobra???
Anyone have a .pdf or link to a good paper suggesting how these boas came to be? I'd think they'd be a great candidate for examining their "molecular clock" ?

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Sam Bacchini
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by Sam Bacchini » April 12th, 2013, 1:12 pm

regalringneck wrote:Anyone have a .pdf or link to a good paper suggesting how these boas came to be? I'd think they'd be a great candidate for examining their "molecular clock" ?
There are some papers out there, though I will have to do a little digging to find them. In a nutshell, one theory is that when Madagascar, Africa and South America were all a part of one land mass there was an ancestor to all the boas present there. After the split, boas remained in SA and Madagascar, but when Africa connected with Europe and Asia the ancestor to the pythons moved in and displaced the boas. There is a lot more detail to the theory, and there are some alternate explanations, but that is the one I'm most familiar with.

Interestingly there are also iguanids and Podocnemid turtles in Madagascar as well.

Robert Hansen
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by Robert Hansen » April 15th, 2013, 10:05 pm

regalringneck wrote:... i for one am just blownaway by the fact theres boas in madagascar period, how strange & unlikely is that? Its even more unlikely than a python in mexico, but i guess theres one there too. Yet somehow the entire freaken new world couldn't come up w/ a single decent dang monitor (sans gilas) nor a cobra???
Anyone have a .pdf or link to a good paper suggesting how these boas came to be? I'd think they'd be a great candidate for examining their "molecular clock" ?
There are 3 papers by Brice Noonan and colleagues that address the evolutionary history of these boas (and Pacific boas, too). PM or email me ([email protected]) if you want a pdf of these.

BH

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Berkeley Boone
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by Berkeley Boone » May 20th, 2013, 6:25 pm

Kelly-
Thanks very much for the compliments. I didn't mean to let them slip by and not respond. I'm glad you enjoyed the little mini-seminar. An appreciation thread each month, huh? Lemme see what I can cook up next..... :D
--Berkeley

BLB1029
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by BLB1029 » May 21st, 2013, 9:05 am

For those who may be interested, there is a thread on tree boas on the "not allowed" forums. I was looking through this the other day and one of the most recent posts has pictures of a litter of Madagascar tree boas. This particular person has apparently produced two litters over the years. Pretty impressive as, from what I understand, these are not commonly bred in captivity.
I too like both species and would like to work with both in the future if possible. I like the ground boas the best and think that their colors are just outstanding.
Brad Bauserman

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Ameron
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by Ameron » December 14th, 2015, 5:52 am

I"m very new to Boas, although I have decades of King, Milk & Rat snake experience. I rescued a heavily scarred Mexican Rosy Boa last September and fell in *love* with her. She quickly became my favorite snake, due to her placid & calm nature. When researching small Boas (my preference), I was intrigued by Solomon Island & Hog Island boas. Then I found out that Solomon Island boas feed on lizards. I prefer to maintain actual prey preferences - rather than forcing a diet change on animals for my Keeper convenience.

(Yes, it's easier to feed People burgers & fries or Swanson's frozen dinners. However, they need a balanced diet of much broader variety - and will choose a broader diet if not kept in a cage.)

During my research, I became aware of Dumeril's Boas and became quite intrigued. I tucked away my *lust* and deferred it for a couple of years.

Last month, I saw an advertisement for a rescue Dumeril's Boa kept 2.5 hours away. I made the 5-hour round trip journey that night, in pouring rain. My new "Souvenir" was worth the effort, and quickly became my favorite snake, surpassing even my Rosy Boa. She is so placid, calm & curious, and so forgiving if you accidentally bump her. (It happens; we are much faster than they are and surprise them sometimes in handling.)

Plus, my female (sold as a male) is 4 years old and only 4 feet long. There's a good chance that she will remain under 5 feet long when fully grown. Sweet! I love their slow, predictable nature that allows me to park them on shrubs outside for exercise & fun while I do yard work - supervising constantly, of course.

Talk about UNDERRATED! For those who enjoy handling & interacting with their snakes, rather than display animals seldom handled, this species is one of the most ideal. "Cheap dates", they only need to feed once monthly.

Ironically, of my three snakes, my tropical Dumeril's Boa likes it the coolest. My Desert Kingsnakes is next, tolerating cool most of the time but basking under the bulb when he wants heat. My Rosy Boa likes heat the most. Seldom on the ground, she basks in branches near the heat bulb most of the time - and LOVES to climb.

Don in Vancouver, WA
Network Engineer (Explorer, Discoverer, Herpetologist, Naturalist, Writer)

1.0 Lampropeltis getula splendida
1.0 Terrapene carolina carolina
1.0 Terrapene carolina triangus
0.1 Lichurana trivirgata trivirgata
0.1 Boa dumerli (reclassified in 2015 from Acrantophis dumerili)

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Joseph S.
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by Joseph S. » December 16th, 2015, 1:55 pm

I have heard a bit about dumerils being ok with cooler temps...but I would be cautious. Not sure what the climate from the dry forests they are from is. Their are many things that will affect an animals preferred body temperature-not the least for boids being a big meal. Keeping rubber and rosy boas back to back on the same heat pad their were some interesting moments when they rosies would be on the other side of the cage quite cold to touch but the rubber boa would tempgun at 78 and be up against the heat. I turned both cages around for fun and the snakes moved accordingly.

simus343
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by simus343 » December 16th, 2015, 2:47 pm

Joseph S. wrote:I have heard a bit about dumerils being ok with cooler temps...but I would be cautious. Not sure what the climate from the dry forests they are from is. Their are many things that will affect an animals preferred body temperature-not the least for boids being a big meal. Keeping rubber and rosy boas back to back on the same heat pad their were some interesting moments when they rosies would be on the other side of the cage quite cold to touch but the rubber boa would tempgun at 78 and be up against the heat. I turned both cages around for fun and the snakes moved accordingly.
There could be something with natural history involved here based on the geographic range of each species. Rosy Boas are a more southern species in a habitat more prone to heat extremes, and the rubber is from a habitat more prone to cold extremes. As a result, the Rosy is attempting to stay cooler for longer, and the rubber, warmer for longer. This is merely a speculative thought.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Acrantophis Appreciation

Post by Kelly Mc » December 19th, 2015, 9:48 am

A peeve is claiming the title of herpetologist casually, its not an informal title. There are herpetologists and other biologists that are members or visitors of FHF. To think one can just call oneself a herpetologist because one keeps or likes reptiles is irritatingly naive to the curriculum of zoology and the sciences in general.

As a self educated person, who would gladly trade actual fingers and toes for a chance to go back to school I also find it offensive.

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