Added 27 June 2002. Last updated 9 May 2008: corrected Links and some range data.

A quick guide to



Rainbow Boas are the species of the genus Epicrates, found in South America and the Caribbean. Their common name derives from the iridescent reddish sheen of their scales.

E. angilufer, Cuban Boa E. cenchria, Rainbow Boa E. chrysogaster, Rainbow Boa
E. exsul, Abaco Isle Boa E. fordi, Hispaniolan Rainbow Boa E. gracilis, Rainbow Boa
E. inornatus, Puerto Rican Boa E. monensis, Virgin Island Boa E. striatus, Haitian Boa
E. subflavus, Jamaican Boa    

Species Common Name Origin Adult size Notes
Epicrates angilufer Cuban Boa Cuba 12' Further details to come.
Epicrates cenchria Rainbow Boa S America 5-7' Further details to come.
E. c. cenchria Brazilian Rainbow Boa ?? 5-7'
E. c. alvarezi Argentinian Rainbow Boa Argentina 5-7'
E. c. assisi ? Rainbow Boa Brazil 5-7'
E. c. barbouri Isla Marajo Rainbow Boa Brazil (Marajo Island) 5-7'
E. c. crassus Paraguayan Rainbow Boa Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay 5-7'
E. c. gaigei Peruvian Rainbow Boa ?? 5-7'
E. c. hygrophilus ? Rainbow Boa Brazil 5-7'
E. c. maurus Columbian Rainbow Boa ?? 5-7'
E. c. polylepis ? Rainbow Boa Brazil 5-7'
E. c. xerophilus Rainbow Boa ?? 5-7'
E. chrysogaster Rainbow Boa Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands ?' Further details to come.
E. c. chrysogaster Rainbow Boa Turks and Caicos Islands
E. c. relicquus Rainbow Boa Bahama Islands (Great Magna and Sheep Cay)
E. c. schwartzi Rainbow Boa Bahama Islands (Acklins Island and Crooked Island)
E. exsul Abaco Isle Boa Bahama Islands ?' Further details to come.
E. fordi Hispaniolan Rainbow Boa Hispaniola (Haiti, Dominican Republic) ?' Further details to come.
E. f. fordi Hispaniola ?'
E. f. agametus Haiti (Môle St.-Nicolas, Département du Nord-Ouest) ?'
E. f. manototus Haiti (Île à Cabrit) ?'
E. gracilis ? Rainbow Boa Hispaniola (Haiti, Dominican Republic) ?' Further details to come.
E. g. gracilis Hispaniola (Haiti, Dominican Republic) ?'
E. g. hapalus Haiti ?'
E. inornatus Puerto Rican Boa Puerto Rica 6-8' Further details to come.
E. monensis Virgin Island Boa Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands ?' Further details to come.
E. m. granti Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands
E. m. monensis Puerto Rico, inc. Isla Mona
E. striatus Haitian Boa Haiti 6-8' Further details to come.
E. s. striatus Haitian (Slender) Boa Hispaniola 6-8'
E. s. ailurus Haitian Boa Bahamas (Alligator Cay and Cat Island) 6-8'
E. s. exagistus Hispaniola 6-8'
E. s. fosteri Bimini Isle Boa Bahamas (Bimini Island) 6-8'
E. s. fowleri Haitian Boa Bahamas (Andros and Berry Islands) 6-8'
E. s. mccraniei Haitian Boa Bahamas (Ragged Island) 6-8'
E. s. strigilatus Bahamas Boa Bahamas (New Providence Island, Rose Island, Eleuthera and Long Islands, Exuma Cays) 6-8'
E. s. warreni Haitian Boa Île de la Tortue 6-8'
E. subflavus Jamaican Boa Jamaica 6-8' Further details to come.



Boas: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual, Doug Wagner, Barrons, 1996, New York/Hong Kong. Excellent book covering all the boas, including the obscure species unlikely to be seen. Highly recommended.

Snakes: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual, R D & P Bartlett, Barrons, 1997, New York/Hong Kong. Covers snakes in general but has a good section on the more popular and available boas.

Breeding and Keeping Snakes, Dr Dieter Schmidt (translated by William Charlton), TFH, 1995 (originally published in German under the title Schlangen [Snakes] by Urania-Verlag, Leipzig). Although a more general book inasmuch as it covers other snake families besides the pythons, most books by German herpetoculturists are always worth a look. Schmidt does not cover many of the python species other than the most common or desirable ones, and even here the reader should be aware that some of the species listed are placed under older classifications than Bartlett and Wagner's book (eg the Diamond Python which is now Morelia spilota spilota is here listed as Python spilotus, while the White-Lipped Python Leiopython albertisi is listed as Liasis albertisi, and so on). Nevertheless the book does have some useful sections, including a table "Compilation of Breeding Dates in Pythons", plus Genetics and Hybridisation.

Snakes of the World, Chris Mattison, Blandford, 1986/1992, London. A good book with the only reservation being that applied to Dieter Schmidt's, ie some of the taxonomy/classification is now out of date. See also Mattison's Keeping and Breeding Snakes (Blandford) which is probably more immediately useful to snake keepers.


Jeff Clark's Rainbow Boa page has excellent information on many of the species and subspecies above.

JoeMac13 has a good site dedicated to E. cenchria in French and Spanish.

The Boidae (Boas and Pythons) section of the TIGR reptile database provided (as always) much useful information, especially regarding subspecies, distributions and the history of recent taxonomic changes.


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