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Madagascar tree boa

Sanzinia madagascariensis

A female Madagascar tree boa is ovoviviparous. It does not lay its eggs. It keeps them and incubates them within its own body and the babies are born live.

A single female can give birth to up to 12 young at a time, each about 38 cm in length.

When a female is carrying eggs, its skin colour darkens. This adaptation provides increased heat absorption for the developing young.

After giving birth, the colour returns to normal as soon as it next sheds its skin. The newly born babies are a bright red, probably as a warning to predators.

The Madagascar tree boa's body length can be up to 160 centimetres.

You can view this snake in the zoo’s Reptile House.

IUCN Status

The IUCN status of the Madagascar tree boa is least concern.

For more info on classifications visit

  Fun fact These boas are born bright red!

Animal class


Conservation status

Not facing risk of extinction but is threatened by habitat destruction through mining, and the illegal pet trade.


Forest and rainforest – in north and west Madagascar, in trees by streams, rivers, ponds and swamps




Carnivore – eats small mammals and birds