At Monkey Haven: Come and meet our gorgeous Boa Constrictor called Gus – he lives in the Reptile Lodge. If you come to one of our regular Reptile talks, you could get the chance to touch or even hold him. He might look a little scary but don’t be fooled – he’s really very friendly.

The lowdown: Boa Constrictors are large, heavy bodied snakes, found in Africa and parts of the Caribbean.

Diet: Small to medium sized mammals, lizards and birds. A mouse, for example, might be a tasty snack – or a rabbit when they’re really hungry.

Slithering facts:

  • The females are bigger than the males (in width and length).
  • The female can grow to over 3m, while males usually reach up to 2.4m.
  • The colouring is usually brown, red or cream with reddish brown patterns known as ‘saddles’.
  • They can climb trees and also they’re brilliant swimmers.
  • The typical lifespan is 20-30 years.
  • These snakes are hunted for their meat and skin, which is used to make shoes, bags and clothes.

Extract from The Holy Family Catholic Primary School’s brilliant blog on their trip to Monkey Haven…

With the monkey entertainment over, we went off to meet Gustavo the Boa Constrictor. Although technically a Boa is not a species of monkey or ape, nevertheless he looked quite at home as he was taken out of his glass case. First up to handle Gustavo was Angelica followed by Monique, Erika, Daniel and Calvin. “Will it bite?” Conor asked nervously as he got to the front of the line. Despite being reminded that it was a Constrictor, he clearly wasn’t overly convinced but managed a nervous smile for the paparazzi all the same. At the back of the line Joey simply strolled up as cool as ever, looked Gus in the eye and struck her pose. Typically stylish I felt.
“Any questions?” Lizzie asked.
“How fast can he move?”
“Very fast, especially when he’s after food.”
“Is he faster than Usain Bolt?”
“No, probably not.”
I’m not sure about that, but one thing is for certain… if a fully grown Boa Constrictor was coming my way, neither it or Usain Bolt would be as fast as me.