Enemies of the Boa Constrictor

By Andy Osborne

Native to Central and South America, boa constrictors are non-venomous snakes that can grow to up to 13 feet in length as adults. Boa constrictors are ambush hunters, meaning they hide until their prey is within reach, then strike with lightning speed to constrict their food--monkeys, other reptiles, and wild pigs--before swallowing their prey whole. Although a formidable hunter, the boa constrictor has several major predators. Exploring these enemies of the boa constrictor is key in understanding how this dynamic reptile fits into its ecosystem.

Hawks

Airborne enemies of the boa constrictor, hawks soar the skies looking for young boas to eat. If a small boa is out in the open when a hawk passes over, it runs the risk of being spotted by the bird and carried off in the hawk's talons to make an avian meal.

Although an adult boa is far too large--and dangerous--for a hawk to attack, young and even live-born baby boas are fair game for birds of prey. After a boa constrictor survives on its own for a few months after its birth, however, it is usually over three feet in length and no longer has to worry about the hawk as a potential enemy.

Caimans and Alligators

Caimans, like their larger reptilian relatives--alligators--often prey on boa constrictors in the wild. Caimans and alligators are water-faring enemies of the boa constrictor, and the smaller caiman will prey on young or undersized constrictors. Alligators make a formidable enemy for the boa constrictor, notably in the Florida Everglades where many pet boas have been let loose by pet owners. A bite from a caiman or alligator can lead to death by bleeding or infection for even a full-grown constrictor. However, the crafty, quick boa constrictor more often than not ends up squeezing the life from even large alligators.

Humans

The most dangerous enemy of adult boa constrictors is human beings. According to Animal Portal, many people consider the big snake a pest, especially farmers who find the snake in their fields and kill them.

Boa constrictors are also widely hunted for their skins, which are sold as material for human items such as belts, boots and handbags. Sadly, many people simply fear the non-venomous boa constrictor, and may kill them out of plain fear. Boa constrictors, it should be noted, are not aggressive and do not prey on humans--even though humans are their greatest enemy.