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  • Question about the boas red tail

    Does the red tail of the boas have any purpose for them in the wild?

    defense? scare tatic?

    i was also curious when he asked

  • #2
    Re: Question about the boas red tail

    I think it is used to lure in prey items, you may notice your own boas twitching their tails a bit before or after feeding.

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    • #3
      Re: Question about the boas red tail

      Originally posted by Hunglikeafruitbat View Post
      I think it is used to lure in prey items, you may notice your own boas twitching their tails a bit before or after feeding.
      ah didnt think about that one that could very well be it

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      • #4
        Re: Question about the boas red tail

        There was an article in an old Vivarium magazine about how a boa uses it's tail to lure prey. I don't remember off-hand which issue it was, gotta go look that up.

        Amie

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        • #5
          Re: Question about the boas red tail

          It was Volume 9 number 3, the article was titled "Tail Luring in Red Tail Boas"

          Gus had a few other insights, that he posted on another forum a while back. Hopefully, he won't mind me copying thoughts here: This is what he had to say:

          . ..boas exhibit disruptive camouflage all over. The head doesn't look like the tail, which doesn't look like the mid-body and so on. This look is made even more effective when a boa is in it's habitat and can't be viewed all-together at once the way we see it in our grasp or in a tank.
          .
          Naturalists believe this helps boas avoid being targeted by the 'smarter' predators. The ones that may learn what a target species looks like, since the appearance of a boa rarely exactly matches that seen before.
          .
          Experienced observers also agree that the tails are used as lures, especially by the young. There are many parallels of this in other snake species, small copperheads as just one example.. tropical pit-vipers, both arboreal and terrestrial are famous for this ability.. As the animals mature they use this less and less and the tails lose much of their brightness as well.
          .
          No doubt it is also employed as a warning display. The contrasting bands of color make many predators hesitate. Many noxious or dangerous animals, from yellow-jackets and monarch butterflies to coral snakes to striped skunks use some form of that patterning. It's a raging debate among amateurs whether this is actual mimicry of some deadly life-form or a case of many animals using the same tool (the contrast and color itself).. recently most scientists are believeing it is the latter.. it is the association of the color and patterns and how it is suddenly presented to a threat that is itself the tool in play.. not a case of a milksnake wanting to look like a coral snake (the most famous example). These things can effect humans as well.. look at how it's been shown that kids can go into convulsions while viewing certain flashing or ocillating light and color patterns.
          .
          The third way the tail is used is to attract a predator.. this would be necessary when a boa is under attack and is exposed and cannot escape.. if successful, the tail gets grabbed and the vulnerable head is left free.. to counter attack or find some hole or whatever.. you will see very many WC boas with scars on their tails..
          .
          I've watched my boas display all these techniques (and more?).
          .
          Gus, Rio Bravo Reptiles http://www.RioBravoReptiles.com



          Amie

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          • #6
            Re: Question about the boas red tail

            Very interesting.

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