Annulated Tree Boa (Corallus annulatus)

The Annulated Tree Boa is a large arboreal species that inhabits the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Unlike other Boa species like the Mesoamerican, one morph of this species are brownish-red in color, which renders them rather conspicuous against the dark green background in the tropical rain forest. Their nocturnal habits and preference for staying high in the trees make them difficult to spot. The color pattern consists of a series of diamond-shaped blotches, which are darker over the dorsum and lighter towards the venter. Some individuals have a cream base color instead of the brownish-red of the specimen shown below.

Mesoamerican Boa Constrictor (Boa imperator)

Boas are not venomous snakes, instead they are constrictors as their name implies, which means that they use their powerful muscles to wrap itself around their prey and asphyxiate them. It combines gray skin with big red blobs and yellow-black lines that form a distinctive pattern; its skin is somewhat iridescent though, showing some blue and green hues sometimes. Since the red blobs are bigger towards the tail, it is sometimes called “Red-tailed Boa”. The eye is black, with the typical vertical pupils of most snakes. They inhabit rain forests, due to their preference to stay in warm, wet places with plenty of potential prey, which includes mice, birds and amphibians. Their preferred hunting technique is the ambush, waiting for prey to get close enough before launching an attack.

As for the images taken during sunset, there is a back story. The guide at Mirador El Pizote told me that he envisioned a picture with a Boa in the foreground and San Carlos river in the background. Initially, I did not think it was a good idea. During the afternoon, I was just sitting on a bench, when I saw the raging sunset colors over the river, and then the idea made a lot of sense. It was a humbling experience to see how other people’s ideas about photography can be really wonderful and I learned not to dismiss any ideas without at least trying.