Emerald Tree Boas originate from South America and were first recorded in 1758 by the famous taxonomist and biologist Linnaeus. He named this beautiful tree boa, Corallus caninus. The genus name Corallus - meaning 'of coral' or 'coral-like'  - was used by Linnaeus to describe the coral-like color and pattern of snakes. Caninus - meaning 'canine-like' or resembling a canine or dog' - came about from from the shape and form of the snake's head, i.e. an angled snout which is reminiscent of a dog. The elongated maxillary teeth also resemble the canine teeth of dogs.

Transliterated, the name Corallus caninus actually means coral-like snake with a head like that of a dog. The genus Corallus is also used to describe other tree boas originating from the same geographical region, e.g. Corallus hortulanus, Corallus cooki, Corallus cropani, Corallus annulatus, Corallus grenadensis and Corallus ruschenbergerii.

These subspecies belong to the so-called Corallus hortulanus Complex described by HENDERSON  et al.. Corallus caninus is the only member of the Corallus family that is emerald green. It also resembles the green tree python of New Guinea, Indonesia and Australia [see additional notes on speciation by the author of this site].

To date, there are two distinct types or locales of Corallus caninus: the Surinam variant, also known as the Northern or Guiana Shield Emerald Tree Boa and the Amazon Basin Emerald Tree Boa, known as the 'Amazon Basin' variant.

The Northern variant is found primarily in Northern regions of South America. The 'Basin' variant', as the name suggests, is only found along the basin of the Amazon River, in Southern Surinam, southern Guiana, southern Venezuela to Colombia, Peru and Brazil and in the surrounding jungles of the Amazon River. It is quite likely that, in time, Corallus caninus will be split into new subspecies.
There are striking differences between the two locales in the way of coloration, scaling, pattern, markings and temperament. The Northern variant is a smaller animal than the Amazon Basin locale and has a lighter green coloration with white dorsal markings that do not connect, as in the Amazon Basin variant. The 'Basins' also have a very yellow belly. The nose scales (nasals) are much larger in Northern variants.

From a collector's point of view, 'Amazon Basins' are more desirable because of their more striking patterns, coloration and much friendlier or calmer temperament and nature. As a result, they are generally easier to keep in captivity, although both variants are not snakes that should be kept in captivity by the less experienced herpetologist. The conditions in captivity require highly specialised knowledge on the part of the keeper and also extensive experience with other members of the Corallus family first.
Only those who have that experience (or with green tree pythons) truly understand the needs of these splendid animals.
This website is dedicated to the exchange of knowledge regarding the husbandry and captive breeding of this remarkable species of snake.
Large 12 -month full-colour, high-quality glossy 2009 calendar depicting Morelia viridis [green tree pythons].
A large full-colour Corallus Calendar will also be available very shortly...keep posted.

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Website authored and owned by Graham P. Oxtoby - All rights reserved (C) 2006-2008
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Neonate Corallus caninus [Northern Shield, born October 2008] - Photo by Graham P. Oxtoby