At 7.5 ft long, 21 lbs and 20 years old, Madrone, the mild mannered red-tail boa, is a majestic figure. As one of Wildlife Safari’s ambassador animals, Madrone goes out with his keepers into the community to teach people of all ages about the importance of conservation.
Red-tail boas are native to South America, and get their name from the red pigment on their underbelly. They are constrictors; which means they are non-venomous, relying instead on their strength to slowly squeeze their prey until they go into circulatory arrest.
As they are non-venomous they have no need for the long fangs that would inject venom into prey. Instead, they have small, rear facing teeth to grab and hold their prey while they constrict.
Red tails are tree dwellers, using their patterns to camouflage against bark and leaves.
Their diet includes small mammals, birds and amphibians that cross their paths. As nocturnal sit and wait predators, red tail boas wait in the shadows for their prey to approach before they strike.
Capable of growing up to 12 ft long, there are not many predators willing to take on an adult Red-tail boa. Their main threat comes from people. The exotic pet trade removes these beautiful snakes from their natural habitat and places them in homes that may not be prepared to care for them adequately. With a lifespan of up to 35 years, they are not a small commitment.
Madrone, like all our ambassador animals, is used to being around people and is comfortable with meeting groups of all ages. He shows young and old what it is that conservation efforts are trying to protect. Seeing him takes these animals from abstract to very real. His charms have also changed many minds when it comes to preconceived notions regarding snakes.
Our hope is that when people meet Madrone, they will see him as we do; a life worth protecting and a species worth conserving.