Northern Emerald Tree Boas


  • Corallus caninus (LINNAEUS, 1758)
Natural Distribution
  • Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana, S/E Venezuela, NE Brazil
Approximate Size
  • Males 1.4-1.7 meters (4.5-5.5 ft.)
  • Females  1.8-2.1 meters (6-7 ft.)
Conservation Status
  • CITES appendix II3

Emeralds are distinguishable from other species in the complex (except C. batsii) by their green dorsal background color with white markings dorsally. The background green can range from a dark forest green to a light “Emerald” green, while the white markings can be quite prominent or nearly devoid1.

Neonates are born brick red, as a natural deterrent to predators, gradually turning green in the first years of age.


Emerald Tree Boas are arboreal boas that originate from South America, where two distinct types can be found. The smaller Northern or Guiana Emerald (Corallus caninusfound in the northern amazon shield. The larger “Basin” Emerald (Corallus batesii), is found within the Amazon Basin2.

Northern Emerald Tree Boas have a reputation for being aggressive and difficult to keep, especially for the more inexperienced hobbyists. However, in my experience emeralds are only aggressive in the evening, after the lights have gone out and they’re more alert. During the day emeralds are quite easy to contend with, provided you’re not trying to remove them from their perch.

The southern Basin Emerald have a better reputation, often demonstrating a much calmer demeanor.

Although emeralds are not considered the best choice for beginners, or perhaps intermediate keepers, I find these boas are easy to work with provided they’re setup with the proper temperate and humility requirements.

Northern Emerald Tree Boas (Corallus Caninus)

  1. Corallus caninus (LINNAEUS, 1758) – The Reptile Database (Accessed Online 2017)
  2. Geographic Variation in the Emerald Tree Boa, Corallus caninus (Squama Boidae) Henderson et. al. 2009
  3. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – Appendices I, II and III (Accessed Online, 2017)

Captive-bred Reptile Excellence

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