Mona/Virgin Islands Boa

(Epicrates monensis)


Mona/Virgin Islands Boa IUCN ENDANGERED (EN)


Facts about this animal

The Virgin Islands boa is one of the smallest members of the genus Epicrates, reaching a snout-vent length of about 80 cm only. The body weight is in the order of 120-200 g in females and 70-100 g in males. In adults, the body colour is light plumbeous brown with darker blotches partially edged with black. The ventral surface is greyish-brown speckled with darker spots. The upper surface ground colour of juveniles is a very light yellowish brown with dark brownish markings. The dorsal pattern of the body consists of two rows of spots that extend to the end of the tail. The spots vary in number from 51 to 57.

The diet of the Virgin Islands boa seems to consist mainly of the lizard Anolis cristatellus, however, opportunistically also small mammals and nestlings of small birds are eaten.

Like all tree boas, E. monensis is viviparous. Mating takes place from February to May, with parturition from late August through October. The gestation period is approximately 130 days. The young grow rapidly and may reach sexual maturity within two years.

Did you know?
that one of the reasons why the Virgin Islands boa is threatened is the presence of introduced Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) on St. Thomas, St. John, Tortola, and Jost Van Dyke? Deliberately released exotic species, inadvertedly introduced rats and mice, and feral domestic animals, are one of the main factors threatening island species.


Name (Scientific) Epicrates monensis
Name (English) Mona/Virgin Islands Boa
Name (French) Boa de l'île Mona
Name (German) Monaschlankboa
Name (Spanish) Boa de Mona
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Peter Tolson



Range Isla Mona and the Puerto Rico Bank
Habitat Coastal forest
Wild population This species has always been rare, but can be observed at high densities on some small islands. The population trend is unknow (IUCN 2012).
Zoo population 70 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Mona/Virgin Islands Boa


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 44 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Peter Tolson

Why do zoos keep this animal

North American Zoos keep Virgin Island boas in the context of a Species Survivial Plan, which includes ex situ-breeding, research and reintroduction.