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Red Tailed Boa Name Change

​It may come to you as a shock but the Red Tailed Boa you have as a pet, see in a pet store, reptile expo or on an online ad is not actually a Red Tailed Boa to explain this we must look into the taxonomy of Boa Constrictor subspecies. There are 8 subspecies of Boa Constrictor with the most commonly available subspecies in the pet trade being Boa Constrictor Imperator. Only the so called True Red Tailed Boa ( Boa constrictor constrictor) can be called Red Tailed Boas, which live in the Amazon basin and grow much larger than the Common Boas ( Boa constrictor imperator) which are a central American species. In fact Common Boas can be found as far north as the Sonoran desert in Mexico, whilst Red Tailed Boas are found further south in countries such as Guyana and Surinam where most captive lines of true Red Tailed Boas come from.True Red Tailed Boas have bright red tails whilst Common Boas tend to have brownish or orange tail markings. The first successful breeding in South Africa of Guyana Red Tailed Boas happened a few weeks ago so they are not commonly bred in South Africa at all.  Now to confuse you. Due to new genetic evidence the Common Boa has found to be a completley different species from the Red Tailed Boa and are no longer considered a subspecies. The new scientific name for the Common Boa is Boa imperator reflecting that it is a separate species notice that the subspecies name ” constrictor ” is now missing from the name. The True Red Tailed Boas evolved east of the Andes mountains so Common Boas and True Red Tailed Boas are separated by the Andes mountains allowing them to evolve into two different species. The separation by the Andes effected the genetics of the Common Boa by genes changing in relation to the selection pressures of a slightly different habitat to the Red Tailed Boa. Enough genes changed to be able to separate them as a species. The Alien Invasive Species Act does not take this scientific name change into account and has Boa Constrictor subspecies listed as a category 2 invasive species requiring a permit ( please note that Boas will be removed from the list for Gauteng). This means that anyone with Common Boas (Boa Imperator) do not require permits anywhere in the country the legislation only applies to the True Red Tailed Boas. I have CITES documents proving the name change should anyone have problems with Nat Con with regards to Alien Invasive Species permits for Boas. Note that scientists want to drop the subspecies of Red Tailed Boas and want to make them a separate species Boa Constrictor so it seems that the entire Boa complex is under taxonomic review.