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boa (bōˈə), name for live-bearing constrictor snakes of the family Boidae, found mostly in the Americas. This family, which also comprises the egg-laying pythons of the Old World, includes the largest of all snakes, as well as many smaller ones. Members of the boa family have two functional lungs instead of one, as is found in other snakes, and vestiges of hind limbs; these primitive characteristics are indicative of their relationship to lizards. Each of the two tiny, internal leg bones ends in an external horny claw; the claws are much more prominent in males than in females. Boas capture their prey by striking with their teeth and simultaneously throwing their bodies in a coil around the victim. They then squeeze the animal so hard that they can stop the flow of blood to the prey's vital organs and prevent breathing, leading to unconsciousness and suffocation. Like other snakes, boas swallow the prey whole.

Over 30 boa species are found from Mexico to South America, with the greatest variey in the tropics, and two in the United States. Boas may be terrestrial, arboreal, or burrowing. Some are brightly colored, like the green and white emerald tree boa of the tropics (Boa canina), or iridescent, like the wide-ranging rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchris). Best known is the boa constrictor (Constrictor constrictor), which lives in a variety of terrestrial habitats from S Mexico to central Argentina. It averages 6 to 9 ft (1.8–2.7 m) in length, occasionally reaching 14 ft (4.3 m), and has dark brown diamond markings on a lighter background. The South American anaconda (Eunectes murinus) is a semiaquatic boa that inhabits swamps and river shallows, catching animals that come to drink. The longest member of the boa family and the thickest of all snakes, it may reach 25 ft (7.9 m) in length and 3 ft (90 cm) in girth. The rubber boa (Charina bottae) is found in moist regions of the far W United States and extreme SW Canada. It is a burrower, about 18 in. (46 cm) long, with a narrow, blunt head, broad, blunt tail, and silver-green skin. It feeds chiefly on lizards and rodents. The rosy boa (Lichanura roseofusca) is found in chaparral in the SW United States and N Mexico; it grows about 3 ft (90 cm) long. It has large, dark brown spots on a lighter background. Several species of sand boa (Eryx) are distributed from India and central Asia to N Africa and SE Europe; all are burrowers in sand. There are also several boa species on Madagascar and several on Pacific islands.

Boas are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Squamata, family Boidae.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the common boa constrictor (Constrictor constrictor), a snake of the constrictor family. The boa measures up to four m long. The color of its scales is very beautiful and variable, with a metallic sheen. The boa is distributed in tropical America, where it lives in forests, on the ground, and in trees. It feeds on small birds and animals, hunting them mostly at night. Like all constrictors, the boa crushes its prey with loops of its body. The skin of the boa is highly prized for its beautiful pattern. (It goes into the manufacture of handbags, briefcases, and other goods.)

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(vertebrate zoology)
Any large, nonvenomous snake of the family Boidae in the order Squamata.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


any large nonvenomous snake of the family Boidae, most of which occur in Central and South America and the Caribbean. They have vestigial hind limbs and kill their prey by constriction
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005




[IBM] Any one of the fat cables that lurk under the floor in a dinosaur pen. Possibly so called because they display a ferocious life of their own when you try to lay them straight and flat after they have been coiled for some time. It is rumored within IBM that channel cables for the 370 are limited to 200 feet because beyond that length the boas get dangerous --- and it is worth noting that one of the major cable makers uses the trademark "Anaconda".
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(Portable Object Adapter) In CORBA, it refers to the part of the ORB responsible for managing server-side operations. POA policies are set to allocate and deallocate resources, to determine how long object instances are maintained and to deal with system failures. The POA replaces the Basic Object Adapter (BOA), CORBA's first object adapter. See instance.
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References in periodicals archive ?
He, however, explained that the debt was not exclusively BOA debt, adding that it also comprised other debts incurred during the era of Peoples Bank that was transferred to BOA, which complicated issues facing the bank.
Engagements with these institutions include their invitations for the BOA to participate in the major activities, and conversely their participation in the BOA activities in the Philippines.
She said that she wanted to do music that had people questioning "Will BoA really sing this song?"
( Boas are a group of non-venomous, constricting snakes.
Urban Taste CEO Angus Woodhead said: "We believe that Boa Steakhouse is the perfect addition to Eastern Mangroves Promenade.
In the face of difficult operating conditions, BoA continues to effectively monitor risk exposures and is increasingly following a cautious lending policy.
A BOA spokesman said: "Lord Moynihan has decided that he is going to step down as chairman of the BOA once a successor is elected to the position later this year."
"Our office has even had a call from a member of the BOA medical team who has also expressed surprise at the organisation's decision to go public with the request.
"As the BOA program matures, more and more communities are developing cooperative plans to guide future development," said NPCR executive director Jody Kass.
Howman said the BOA had a deadline of May 18 to change their bylaw or face being reported to the International Olympic Committee for remaining "non-compliant" with the world anti-doping code.
The BOA are to challenge the decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that the lifetime ban is "non-compliant" with their code.