Boa Snakes Essay

Boa Snakes Term paper

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Boa is the common name for about 6 genera and 50 species of SNAKES that constitute the family Boidae. Closely related to PYTHONS, the family includes the largest of all snakes, the water-dwelling ANACONDA of South America. Among other boas are the smaller sand boas, Eryx, and the woodsnakes, Tropidolphus and related genera. The typical boa genera are ground or tree dwellers of tropical America--as are the woodsnakes--and the island of Madagascar, whereas the sand boas are semidesert burrowing snakes of northern Africa and southern Asia. The two North American boas--the rosy and the rubber boa--resemble the sand boas. All boas are nonpoisonous and kill by constriction ;unlike the pythons, they bear live young. They are primitive snakes with anatomical features that reflect their lizard ancestry, such as bony vestiges of hind limbs that terminate in external claws, and the presence--except in the woodsnakes--of two functional lungs. Most boas are active at night and have pits along their lips that are sensitive to the heat of prey. The snakes are usually handsomely marked and often iridescent, the most striking being the rainbow boa, Epicrates cenchis. The species best known as "boa" ;is the boa constrictor, Constrictor constrictor, which ranges from Mexico to Argentina and the West Indies. The snake grows up to 3.7 m (12 ft) long, but a 5.6-m (18.5-ft) specimen is on record. Picture Caption[s] The boa constrictor, C. constrictor, is a New World snake that grows up to 3.7 m (12 ft) long. It kills rodents and other small animals by striking and coiling around its victim with incredibly fast movements. Once wrapped around its prey, the boa constrictor tightens its coils, preventing the animal from breathing. It then swallows its meal whole.

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