Boas bed down at Whipsnade
Wednesday 11 January 2006
Relocation has been the order of the day at the Discover Centre this week, as two Argentine boas are introduced.
The two female boas have been moved from London Zoo to Whipsnade to be added to a newly refurbished enclosure as part of the South American theme in the latter section of the Discovery Centre.
They will be joining the mata mata turtles, basilisk lizards, saki monkeys, acouchis, and golden-headed lion tamarins, which represent just a tiny fraction of the diverse range of species that populate this immersive rainforest exhibit.
The Argentine boa originates from the forests and dryer scrublands of Argentina and Paraguay in South America. They can reach a length of 3 metres (ten feet) and are marked with an intricate pattern of dark-brown to black saddles and speckles over a silvery-grey background.
They are non-venomous and kill their prey by constriction, tightening their coils when a captured animal exhales and preventing it from inhaling. Death is by asphyxiation and is relatively quick and painless.
The Argentine boa is threatened by extinction due to habitat loss and the skin trade. It is listed on Appendix 1 of CITES, international legislation designed to monitor and control the trade in endangered species.