Charina Trivirgata – Rosy Boa

Charina Trivirgata - rosy Boa Information

Charina trivirgata, the rosy boa, is a small type of boa native to California, Arizona as well as Northern Mexico. It is one of two boa species in the United States. Due to its docile nature and beautiful color patterns, it is also a popular pet snake.

Charina Trivirgata Rosy boa head and eye with red and grey stripes
The head of a rosy boa. Found in Cabazon, California by Tristan Loper



You might think about larger snakes when you hear the word “boa”. However, the two North American boa species are relatively small. Adult rosy boas are about 20-44 inches (50-110 cm) long and thus slightly larger than the rubber boa. The young are born live and about 12 inches (30 cm) long.

Coloration and Pattern

The main identification feature of a rosy boa are three longitudinal stripes that run along its entire body. The base color of the body is mostly a lighter color such as beige, light grey, white or sometimes even blue or green tones. The three stripes come in a darker color, often red, orange, dark grey or black. Sometimes, the three stripes are well-defined while other times the edges can be irregular or blurry.

Grey and red orange rosy boa on rock in California Joshua tree national park snake
A rosy boa with light purple and orange stripes found in Joshua Tree National Park, California. Photo: Flickr

Hunting Behavior

The rosy boa feeds on small rodents or other mammals as well as lizards. In contrast to the racer snake, it is one of the slowest moving snakes in the United States. It usually hides in rock crevices and waits until its prey is in reach. With a quick plunge, it bites into its prey and quickly wrapes its body around it. With this technique called constriction, it immobilizes and eventually soffocates its prey before eating it whole.


The rosy boa is a nonvenomous snake and rarely ever bites humans. When it feels threatened, it rather rolls up its body and releases a strong smell to deter predators. Thanks to its great coloration and since it is a very docile and non-demanding snake species, the rosy boa is also a very popular pet snake.

Charina Trivirgata - rosy Boa Information
The beautiful colors make the rosy boa a popular pet snake. Photo: Flickr


Mostly, rosy boas remain hidden in rock crevices throughout the day and hunt at nighttime. Their preferred habitat are rocky areas in the desert areas of California and Arizona. Most commonly they are found between granite rocks. In this environment, its most common coloration with a light-grey body and orange/red stripes provide the perfect camouflage for the snake.

Rosy boa range in the USA

In addition to Northwestern Mexico, the rosy boa can be found throughout Southern California including the Mojave Deserst and the Colorado Desert as well as in Southwestern Arizona.

Scientific classification of Charina trivirgata

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Suborder: Serpentes
  • Family: Boidae
  • Genus: Charina
  • Species: Charina trivirgata
Charina Trivirgata – Rosy Boa

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