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Dec 20, 2014 at 05:55 AM
 
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Boa Constrictor Care Sheet

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The Common Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor imperator), unlike their cousins the True Red Tail are typically calm and very mild natured animals. Common Boa Constrictors stay smaller than their True Red tail counterparts; males typically reaching sizes of 5-7 feet, and females 7-9 feet.

Housing: Common Boas, as newborns, need smaller enclosures such as a small rubbermaid box or a 10 gallon aquarium with a glass canopy and screen lid. As the animal grows, they will require a larger enclosure, whether it be a rubbermaid or glass aquarium. However, they are adept escape artists, so a securely fitted top is an absolute necessity. Rubbermaid boxes are preferred for snakes for several reasons. The Boxes hold more heat and humidity, and they are less expensive and much easier to clean.

Furnishings: provide a dark hiding place (they like to feel securely enclosed, so it should be just large enough to accommodate the snake).

Temperature: Reptiles are ectothermic. This means they regulate their own body temperature. There should be a gradient of temperature. The warm end of the enclosure should be upwards of 95 F, and the cool end as low as 75 F. An under tank heating pad designed for reptiles works well for providing the heat for the cage. Never use hot rocks. Use multiple thermometers to monitor the temperatures in the cage.



Lighting: Common Boas have no special lighting requirements.



Water and Humidity: provide a dish large enough for the snake to soak in. Soaking is especially important during sheds. Some owners like to provide a covered dish (e.g. plastic storage container) with a whole in the lid, to provide security for the snake so it will soak longer if necessary. Another alternative is to provide a humid hide, which similarly uses a covered container with an access lined with damp sphagnum moss to provide the moisture (a water dish is still provided outside the hide).



Feeding: Common Boas should be fed exclusively pre-killed thawed mice or rats(as appropriate for the size of the snake), and only fed once every week or two. Young snakes should be fed mice every 5-7 days, older snakes should be fed increasingly larger prey items and can go longer in between feedings (i.e. 10 - 14 days). Use pre-killed prey as live rodents can injure a snake – dangling the prey in front of the snake with tongs (forceps, BBQ tongs, as well as chop-sticks) usually gets the snake interested. If your snake stops eating, carefully examine husbandry, handling, health, and environment of the snake to make sure stress isn't the culprit. Consult a knowledgeable vet or experienced keeper for help if the fast is prolonged or causing weight loss. If necessary, some tricks to entice a boa to eat include dipping the prey in chicken broth, cup or bag feeding, or exposing the brain of the prey before feeding it, a technique known as braining.





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