Boa constrictor imperator
These boa come from a small island off the east coast of Belize. This island is one of several small islands off the coast of Belize. Caulkers Cay Boa come from a similar neighboring island. Boa from Ambergris Cay, Wee Cay and West Snake Cay are also supposedly in captivity in very limited numbers. Boa are also known to live on several other small neighboring islands.
While somewhat similar to the Caulkers Cay Boa these boa are much more variable. The Crawl Cay boa however have uniquely shaped heads with large eyes. They also have a much less blocky dorsal saddle and pattern aberrancies including limited striping are common. These are heavily speckled boa in most cases and become more speckled with age. Color can be very grayscale or they may be more brown, possibly even having small amounts of pastel color. While the Caulkers Cay boa has been produced in equal numbers for an equal number of succesive generations yet has remained with a rather fixed morphology the Crawl Cay Boa have proven more widely variable. In Europe in parpticular several morphs of the Crawl Cay Boa are commonly offered for sale. I have seen T postivie albinos, hypomelanistics and even anerythristic offerings for sale. This is important as we try to understand these boa more. A person could make the argument that these boa for whatever reason may not have been so thoroughly isolated and had not become so genetically fixed before man discovered them and began breeding them in captivity. Possibly due to this possible fact we see a number of morph boa now being produced as captive populations become more inbred. A situation we do not see with the Caulkers Cay Boa. There are also those who challenge these boa claiming they must be some kind of crossbreeds. I certainly can’t and wouldn’t try to make a determination either way but the boa I see for sale do look a lot like they should other than the paint job. Crawl Cay boa tend to have other features including head shape, eye size and position that have been fairly well studied and documented by private keepers. It’s an interesting controversey. Personally I find the typical wild type the most appealing.
These are true dwarf boa. Mine produce litters at barely for feet and slender. A person interested in these boa should spend some time studying the work of Dr. Scott Boback. This is an easy exercise using the internet to take advantage of the availability of Dr Boback’s work online. There is even an episode of the television show Snake Wranglers devoted to his work with the Belize Boa including mainland boa and Crawl Cay Boa. This is real work being done by a legitimate scientist with these boa to determine how prey availability and inherited genetics contribute to the overall size of these truly dwarf boa. In short his work revealed that the tiny size of these unique boa was a result of both genetics and prey availability. This is importat as this very thing has been debated for years and now we have some real answers. At least we do in the case of the Crawl Cay Boa. Rumor has it he is now doing some equally interesting work with the Hog Island Boa!
Fortunately for keepers of unique wild boa his work required bringing home a few boa to the US. The Crawl Cay boa population already in culture got a welcome injection of fresh blood thanks to some collaboration between Dr. Boback and Vin Russo. My Crawl Cay pair were the result of pairing one of Dr. Boback’s males with a female already in culture at Vin Russo’s facility. I was one of the lucky ones to acquire a pair from this breeding by Vin Russo. It is a very rare opportunity anymore to acquire such boa.
A photo of one as a juvenile from the Russo bloodline using the Dr. Boback male.
Some adult photos of this bloodine:
These photos of my adult male is not at all indicative of his normal appearance but I found it interesting and worthy of sharing with you. In this photo he is particularly dark for two reasons. He is fairly deep in a shed cycle plus there is a large rat being digested somwhere inside this small boa. Boa tend to darken when digesting a large meal.