Skip to main content


Boidae (constricting snakes; order Squamata, suborder Serpentes) A family of large, mainly tropical snakes that kill their prey by constriction. They have a flexible skull, paired lungs, and enlarged ventral scales. Rudimentary hind limbs are present internally and continue externally as anal spurs. The family includes the pythons (all Old World in distribution) and the boas (mainly New World in distribution). Boa constrictor occurs in a wide range of habitats from Mexico to Argentina and on some W. Indian islands, but seldom enters water. The exclusively aquatic Eunectes murinus (anaconda), of S. and Central America, is the largest extant snake, allegedly reaching 11 m in length. Python reticulatus (reticulated python) of the Indo-Malayan region, is similar to the anaconda, the largest authenticated specimen being 8.5 m long, and is often found near water, sometimes swimming out to sea. There are about 70 species of Boidae.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Boidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Boidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . (September 19, 2019).

"Boidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.