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SAVING THE VIRGIN ISLANDS TREE BOA

The Virgin Islands tree boa is a harmless snake that lives in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and islands off Puerto Rico. Having existed there since the islands’ formation some 20,000 years ago, the boa is one of the Virgin Islands’ original inhabitants. This rare and beautiful snake, active primarily at night, is brown with blotched dark spots and easily blends with its surroundings in subtropical dry forests, where it forages for sleeping lizards. It prefers to stay sheltered, although, to the species’ detriment, vegetation-clearance activities often force the snake into the open.

Despite being classified as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, the Virgin Islands tree boa remains highly imperiled due to severe habitat destruction and fragmentation caused by intense development across its range. Past efforts to reintroduce the Virgin Islands tree boa onto several islands in the Caribbean have been very successful. However, the Virgin Islands tree boa’s current distribution remains extremely fragmented, indicating a perilous history of extirpation and rapid decline.

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KEY DOCUMENTS
1986 Federal recovery plan

ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT PROFILE

NATURAL HISTORY

MEDIA
Press releases

RELATED ISSUES
International Program
The Endangered Species Act

Contact: Jacki Lopez

Virgin Islands tree boa photo © Dr. Renata Platenberg