Boa vs Python Snake

Boa vs Python Snake: 5 Best Differences To Tell Them Apart!

Among all the non-venomous species of snakes in this world, boa constrictors and pythons stand out because of their eye-catching appearance and massive size! Just by looking at them one would think they would spit poison, leap and strike, or bare their fangs to take the life of the onlooker, but are they actually so ferocious?

No, in fact they are quite docile, well at least for the large part. When interrupted during their shedding or reproductive season, they might strike or bite and that’s only natural and instinctive. Ball pythons and the Colombian red-tailed boa make the best of pets, despite everything. So let’s read this article on boa vs python snake and find out who is the larger and stronger one!

Overview Of Boa And Python

Boa constrictors or common boa, are non-venomous snakes that fall in the family called Boidae, with their scientific name the same as the name it is popularly known by. Boa constrictors have a wide variety of colors and patterns, consisting of about 4 to 6 species and subspecies. These snakes are native to the tropical areas of South America, with cream to brown appearance.

Boa Snake

Source: @pet_reptiles_montenegro

Pythons fall in the same suborder as the boas called “Serpentes”, but their family is different. Pythons fall in the family known as Pythonidae. They have 10 genera and 39 species, and boast a subspecies number of about 50 or more. They are found mostly in Africa, Asia and Australia and can swallow down animals from the size of household animals to a full deer.

Python Snake

Source: @snakes_of_india

The Similarities Between Python And Boa Snake

Pythons and boa constrictors are, thankfully, non-venomous. Considering their size, if they had been venomous, wildlife, including humans, would have shivered in fear. Boa constrictors and pythons both can be above 10 feet long, with pythons being even longer. Both can weigh above 30 kg, and the weight of pythons could be abominably high. These two are serpentine monsters!

As they do not inject venom into the tissues of their prey, they subdue their prey by constricting them to heart failure, and then swallow them whole. From a distance, telling boas and pythons apart could be a bit tricky, and well, trying to distinguish them up close and personal might not be a good idea. Distinguishing gets a bit difficult because of their similar color and patterns.

Both the serpents appear to be gray, orange and brown overall, the species and subspecies morphing in between the different color variations. Consider Boa Imperator and Borneo Python for instance– both are huge and appear to be of the same color, that is, brownish orange.

Another similarity between these two unrelated snakes is the presence of vestigial legs from their supposed lizard ancestors. Toward their tail ends, the vestigial legs appear as tiny bony structures. As you can see there are plenty of similarities between these two snakes, and telling them apart becomes quite difficult sometimes. So, which features set them apart?

Boa vs Python Snake: Differences

There are some distinct differences between pythons and boas that come in handy when you are trying to distinguish these two similar looking snakes. Let’s take a look at some of them.


Both the serpents love to dwell in the warmth of tropical climates and enjoy a touch of humidity to their glistening skin, but they are found in two different parts of the Earth. Also, pythons love to stay in water and on the ground, while boas would prefer hanging from the tree, watching the day go by. 

Boas Habitat

Source: @caveman_sharker

Boas: Boa constrictors dwell in North and South America, mostly from the western hemisphere of the world. Some species like the Emerald Tree Boa and the Brazilian Rainbow Boa live in Western and Central America. Whereas, few others may live in Africa, Madagascar and Fiji.

Boa constrictors snakes can thrive in variable temperature and humidity conditions from tropical rainforest all the way to arid and semi-arid desert. But their favorite habitats would be the rainforests because it gives them just the right humidity and temperature that it seeks for optimal functioning. Rainforests also give them a lot of food and excellent hiding places.

They are usually found near rivers and streams. They are excellent swimmers too, but most of the time, they prefer to stay on dry lands, hiding in hollow logs and burrows, and of course watching the whereabouts of all other living creatures while hanging from the top of trees.

Pythons Habitat

Source: @maneshny

Pythons: Pythons on the other hand are found mostly in Africa, Asia, and Australia. The ones available in America have been bought from their places of origin. South Asia and South-East Asia, China and Philippines, all enjoy these beautiful pythons in their wild habitats. Ball Pythons are found mostly in Africa, Carpet Pythons in Australia, and the dangerous Reticulated Pythons dwell mainly in Asia.

Pythons can live almost everywhere in Asia. Rainforests, savannas, deserts, and even the swampy places are frequented by these reptiles. Unlike the boa constrictors who love hanging from trees and staying away from water, pythons love water, like the Burmese Pythons, that are excellent swimmers and can stay underwater for 30 min!

Pythons are partially arboreal too, but they prefer slithering around on the ground the most. They are more terrestrial than aquatic.


Boa constrictors and pythons both are large creatures, with the pythons being even larger. Pythons are a monstrosity of snakes. 

Boa constrictors are usually between 6 and 10 feet long, but some species could be longer than 14 feet. There is one giant snake among boas known as the Green Anaconda or the Giant Emerald Anaconda that are longer than 20 feet!

On the basis of length, there is a clear sexual dimorphism in boas, where females are much longer than the males. It is the female boa constrictors that can be longer than 14 feet! Boas can generally weigh up to 27 kg, with some species weighing more than 45 kg.

Pythons, on the contrary, are usually gigantic, ranging anywhere between 3 and 35 feet, and greatly variable with species. Reticulated python is the world’s longest snake, reaching over 21 feet, making it even longer than the height of a giraffe! They weigh about 75 kg.

However, on a side note, had Titanoboa species been alive and thriving today, boas would have won this competition easily! Titanoboa is an extinct species of boas that were 42 feet long and weighed up to 1135 kg,


The method by which pythons and boas bring their babies to the surface of the Earth are extremely different. While one lays eggs, the other gives birth!

Boa constrictors, contrary to popular belief, do not lay eggs but give birth to live young ones. The reproductive cycle of boas is called ovoviviparous, meaning that after eggs form inside the mother’s body, the incubation and the hatching takes place while her eggs are still inside her body.  After the eggs hatch, then the mother snake gives birth to her babies. The snakelets simply slide out of the mother’s cloacal opening!

Boa Give Birth

Source: @snake_country

Males have longer tails to make space for the folded hemipenes, which is the male reproductive organ. Males also have a longer pelvic spur, considered as their vestigial legs, than females.

They reproduce sexually between April and August. After mating, release of eggs from her egg sac does not occur immediately, so females need to wait for ovulation to successfully happen before the eggs can get fertilized. Females can store the sperms inside her for up to a year.

Python Lay Eggs

Source: @serpentinarium

Pythons, on the other hand, like most other snakes, lay eggs. Their reproductive cycle is called oviparous, meaning they lay their eggs, and after laying, they incubate the eggs. The mother python coils around the eggs to keep them warm. She undergoes “shivering” in her skin which raises the temperature of her body, thus helping to keep the eggs warm.


Boas are usually more docile and manageable than pythons.

Boas: Boa constrictors are usually quite solitary and docile by nature, and thus are quite popular among people as pets. During the daytime, they usually bask, preferably in natural light, while at night they become more active since they are more nocturnal than diurnal. They love to burrow in caves and under rocks, so pet lovers usually provide a lot of hiding places for them in tanks.

Though they are not very social, even with their own kin meaning other boas, they could be quite active. In fact, they are more active than pythons. Durings confrontations, boas are more likely to defend themselves than shying away.

Pet lovers have pointed out that they wiggle a lot so at times it gets a little tricky to handle them. Boas could be escape artists in the sense that the moment you turn your back toward them and they find the tanker open, they might escape. That is mainly because snakes are curious by nature and love to explore.

Do boas bite? Certain species of boas, like the Central and Mexican ones, could be slightly aggressive and they could hiss and strike when they perceive a threat. Depending on the size of the boa, their bites could be painful. However, Columbian Boas make the best pets.

Boas could be very aggressive during the shedding season but it is only natural. Their eyes become milky or opaque during molting, making them unable to see properly. Therefore, it is best not to go near them or pet them during the shedding season.

Python are more aggressive than Boa

Source: @dhruvprajapati.21

Pythons: Python snakes are usually more aggressive than boa constrictors. Some not-so-friendly species of pythons would include the Reticulated Pythons, the Burmese Pythons and the African Rock Pythons. The Burmese one attacks and kills alligators. African Rock Pythons are even more viscous and can attack pets, children, and even adult humans!

However, there is one species of pythons that pet enthusiasts love to domesticate and make friends with, and they are the Ball Pythons. They are exceptionally docile and fantastic looking creatures! The albino species often get selectively bred and currently they are available in more than 50 different color morphs.

Pythons hate commotion and are quite sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity levels. In tanks within human-supervision, if the humidity level falls, pythons will keep themselves submerged in water tanks for long periods of time.

Boa Constrictors Aim For Small Mammals And Birds

Source: @rep_tilles


Due to their habitat and size differences, boas and pythons have slightly different dietary preferences.

Boa constrictors aim for small mammals and birds as their usual diet. They generally go for rodents like squirrels, mice and rats, but larger lizards like ameivas and iguanas would suit some larger species of boas. Boas would also not mind mammals such as monkeys, marsupials and wild pigs.

On the other hand, the formidable pythons would look for larger mammals and birds to fulfill their voracious appetite. Without hesitation, the larger species of pythons would hunt down American alligators, bobcats, bullfrogs, opossums, raccoons, otters, even iguanas. Some large Asian species of pythons can gulp down an entire deer.

Both boa constrictors and pythons take days or weeks to digest their food, and would go weeks or months without feeding anything after they have digested their last prey.

Interesting Snippets About Boa and Python

Boas and Pythons are two incredible serpentines and curiosity to know more about them never ceases. Here are some more fun snippets for you to delve into!


  • Boas have heat-sensory pits on their face that help them to detect heat differences in their immediate vicinity. This helps them to hunt and escape predators.
  • Boas have long lives and can live for 20 to 40 years!
  • Boas may not use their vestigial limbs to locomote, but they use it during combat!


  • Some reticulated python species can subdue and eat humans!
  • Pythons can live for longer than 40 years!
  • Ball pythons are named so because they roll into a ball when they get stressed!


Boa vs python snake– who is the more ferocious one? Well, size, color, behavior, and dietary preferences vary across species. However, according to size and behavior, pythons are generally larger and more aggressive than boas. But there are certain python species that are quite friendly and manageable, like the ball pythons!

For one thing, the two snakes live on completely different sides of the world. Boas live in the Americas, whereas pythons are available in Asia, Africa and Australia. Most people believe that all snakes lay eggs, but boa constrictors give birth to live young ones just like mammals do! Snakes never really cease to amaze us and the more we know about them, the more mysterious they become!

Hi dear readers! This is Rebecca, the lead analyst and blog writer for Snake Insider. Following in the footsteps of David’s guided path, I feel highly encouraged to make the most interesting snake-facts to a mass audience! In due time, I believe we’ll be able to present some jaw-dropping insight on snakes that’s sure to leave you begging for more! Personally, I’m a strongly motivated person to explore the most extreme environments should my work demand it. In many cases, I’ve ventured deep into territories that were never considered certain snake habitats and brought back necessary information. Rest assured I’ll surely be sharing them with you over the course of time.

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