Difference Between Boa and Python

Boa vs Python

Boa and python are serpents with very similar appearances to each other, and they are commonly misidentified. However, the differences between them should be clear for those who know about these serpents. Therefore, it would be advantageous to follow their characteristics, so that it would be easy to identify a Boa and python correctly.


Boa is the name of the genus that includes the python-like non-venomous snakes with four species. Boas are classified under the Subfamily: Boinae of the Family: Boidae. They are distributed in central and South America including Mexico, Madagascar, and Reunion Island (the French island located near to Madagascar). Out of the four species, Boa constrictor grows the largest or longest body that measures around 4 metres. B. constrictor lives in Americas, and there are many subspecies of this species depending on the geographical localities. The other three species are found in Madagascar; two of them are endemic to Madagascar, and other one, Duméril’s boa, inhabits the French ruled Reunion Island, as well. However, there are 28 species in five genera, which are classified under the Subfamily: Boinae, and they also being called as boas, but the true boas the ones with the scientific name Boa. Boas do not have many teeth in their mouths, and the number of teeth is much smaller compared to most of the snakes. Additionally, the arrangement of bones in the head of boas is unique from other snakes with less number of bones. An interesting characteristic of boas is that they are born as offspring, as the eggs are incubated inside mother, and hatchlings come out of the body when it is time.


Pythons are the largest snakes of the world, and they belong to the Family: Pythonidae. There are seven species with four subspecies of them, and the reticulated python is the largest of all with a length of 8.7 metres in the longest known specimen. The natural distribution of python includes Africa and Asia, but they have been accidently introduced to North America. The colourations of the pythons include irregular shaped, dark colour blotches with light colour margins along the body. Those colourations may be the other way around as well depending on the species, but the blotches are never arranged regularly. Pythons usually inhabit the thick and dense forests, in mostly dry areas as their habitat, and sometimes they were recorded perching on trees. Studies prove that they prefer a selected diet consisting birds and mammals mostly. One of the interesting characteristic about pythons is the incubation of eggs by the female. After laying the eggs, females coil around those eggs and let their specialised heat pits on the underside of the body to transfer heat into the eggs. Pythons are agile and aggressive attackers, but they do not crush their prey by teeth. Instead, the prey is being crushed by constriction using the powerful muscles. As they have been selectively bred in captivity for different colourations, pythons have become a pet in some places.


What is the difference betweenBoa and Python ?

• Pythons are distributed in Asia and Africa while boas are found both in the new world as well as in the old world.

• Both these include the large species compared to many of the snakes, but pythons are longer than boas.

• Pythons have more teeth than boas do.

• The number of bones in the head is higher in python than in boa.

• Pythons lay eggs and incubate them at the outside, whereas boas give birth to young after incubating the eggs inside the body.

• Pythons have heat pits to incubate eggs but not in boas.