Boa constrictor imperator
With respect to size of Boa constrictors range and variety of living localities
(from deserts to mountain rain forests) it is not easy to define classic
representative of species or subspecies.
Subspecies imperator was defined by Daudin in year 1803, 45 years after describing
of nominate species Boa constrictor constrictor.
Imperators from higher localities (above sea-level) are usually darker a smaller
than exemplar from lowlands. When we would like to speak about specific locality
Boa constrictor, it is good to keep a breeding group without influence of any
other locality representatives and for bloodline refreshing use only other
representative (e.g. bought from other breeder). When we mix various representatives,
after a few litters we will have a Boa domestic, neonates will be carrying all
pattern characters from all groups as they came in mating in the past.
To define a classic representative of imperator using snaps on internet is not
suitable. For example in Mexico you can find a Boa constrictor imperator 100%
looking the same way like a snake from Cancún, but caught somewhere else,
hundreds kilometers from Cancún district…
On the other side, imperator themselves usually keep some characters for this
group significant. E.g. head cross. This mark can be found by more Boa
constrictor subspecies and it is also not proper to say that everything with
cross on the head must be an imperator (massive head cross has e.g. subspecies
longicauda). The same with circle backs saddles.
Subspecies imperator creates natural mix of all pattern characteristic for other
subspecies, they naturally cross their genetics and Boa constrictor imperator
stands in grounds of many color mutations, what is the second way of species
Boa in captive breed. More information in section “Color forms”.
For defining a locality imperator is necessary to know exactly original range
and locality of former wild caught animals. By many breeders you can buy so
called “imperator” created from crossing and mixing, because not much of breeder
can open say “I have a Boa domestic”, easier is to say “it is a common imperator
from somewhere from someone”. In Czech Republic and I am not so naive to think
that in other countries is the situation other, is unfortunately also normal to
make own subspecies by crossing e.g. Sonoran imperator with Cancún imperator
with explanation, that in the nature can the parents meet on province borders,
so we only help the lucky chance to happen.
Boa constrictor imperators from Mexico representative all phenotypic form you
can imagine. In desert of Sonora live imperators almost black and white,
dwarfish form from Tarahumara mountains is usually grey, going to the south we
get more pastel colors (Cancúns are bronze and red-brown), dark brown with more
black color can be found in Chiapas.
Independent from coloration, Boa constrictor imperators usually have more
saddles than e.g. Boa constrictor constrictors. We can find here giants from
size from southern Mexico, Island form are usually smaller. Knowledge about
the original locality is important also for breeding conditions. Even dwarfs
from Tarahumara (adults about 1 meter in body) living in higher altitude need
other humidity and degrees of Celsius than Cancún semi arboreal bigger form.
To simulate similar living condition in original locality is essential for
successful mating and gravidity.
Small rare form of Boa constrictor imperator lives in district of Belize. These
animals are approx. 1,8m long as adults. Very interesting are forms living on
islands near Belize City. Local speak calls these islands “Cay” – from that
names Cay Caulker or Crawl Cay, which are really very rare and number of
breeders, who successfully breed these form is really small. What a pity when
you see an advertisement with text “parents Cay Caulker and Sonora, neonates
will not have more than 1,5m, ideal for smaller caging”.
This is destruction of very rare genetic line!!! Exemplar from Cay Caulker are
practically natural anerythistic, by exemplars from Crawl Cay you can found
slightly crimson tint “firebelly”.
Honduras Boa constrictor imperators are very viewy snakes. You can find here
snakes from light brown going to dark with bigger amount of black, with blue
metallic luster, also with green one, with redish tint (Isla Bahía) and natural
hypomelanistic form “Hogg Island” with yellow and orange coloration. Original
name of endemic range Hogg Island is Cayo de los Cochinos). Island endemic forms
are useful for studying of evolution separated from mainland “main” stream.
Breed of Boa constrictor imperators in this country is not well known. To say
something “100%” based on not many information is not correct. The only one info,
which is known is that Boa constrictor imperators seem to have a trend to be
similar as in Nicaragua are (grey and brown, circlebacks). In contrast to
sentence above, exemplars of Blood Boas (natural high amount of erythrin = red
pigment) were found also in Salvador.
Nicaragua Boa constrictor imperators till today unjustly lurk breeders from
sight. For “Color form” breeders is Nicaragua real treasure! Natural anerys,
hypomelanistics and even natural ghosts from anery x hypo mating were found
here. Typical for Nicaraguan Boa constrictor imperator is very compact saddle
pattern, very often circle backs. In present breeds are almost imperators from
farms in more civilized mountain stripe of Nicaraguan western part. During the
future time we will see how phenotype will affect the point of view the eastern
coast exploration. Here are mostly hot swampy and mangrove lowlands – there must
be something 100% else than in cold mountains.
Costa Rica Boa constrictor imperators move on scale of coloration from tan to
brown. Interesting is so called green form, when exemplars have in ground light
or more intensive green tint combined with red tints. In Costa Rica can be found
rain forest biotopes as of lowlands as of high mountains type with altitude more
than 1200m above sea-level.
Panama Boa constrictor imperators are quiet rare in terrariums. Rich Ihle from
USA reached years ago a specific co-dominant form “salmon” from an exemplar
originally caught in Panama. If it was Boa constrictor sabogae nobody knows
Overwhelming majority of Boa constrictor imperators in terrariums all over the
world are directly Colombian Boa constrictor imperators. It is a typical Boa
constrictor with a lot of form and variants, which the breeders try to establish
or secure. Very nice snakes came from locality Baranquilla.
Colombia is a very big country suffering by status near by civil war. When the
situation there will be more fine, we can wait more specific variants defined
in Colombia, I hope. The Cordilleras create natural boundary between Boa
constrictor imperator and Boa constrictor constrictor range, both normally
found in Colombia. This boundary is not hermetic, so the animals can naturally
cross, but this trend is not good in private breed. As by other subspecies,
the breeder (if it is possible) should care about the original locality and
keep it. More about gains that Colombia gave to the world of Boa breeders you
find in section “Color forms”.
More natural forms of Boa constrictor imperators are found in Ecuador. Andes
as natural resistance divide several localities. In some have local imperators
saddles not connected and only a few ones, exemplars from east-south do have
classic circleback as e.g. Nicaraguan have. Sometimes the pattern on head is
very similar to Boa constrictor occidentalis. BUT! Also exemplars of Boa
constrictor melanogaster here were found. And now choose…