Boa Caresheet

Common Name: Boa Constrictor                               Latin Name: Boa Constrictor Imperator (BCI)

Native too : The boa constrictor has a range as far north as northern Mexico and covers most of central as well as most of south America and several of the surrounding islands.

Life span: Boas can live for 20 to 30 years in captivity if cared for properly.
Size: Baby boas range from 350mm too 550mm at birth (14” to 22”) up too 3.5m (12 foot) for a very large adult female (males are generally smaller.)

Care in captivity

Temperature: I have found that boas do well with an ambient temperature of 29 - 30 C (84 - 86 f) and a hotspot of 33 - 34C (92 - 93f), it is not necessary for their well being but they can be given a night time drop of a few degrees, I generally only do this with adults during the breeding season. I find that adult boas are best heated with a guarded ceramic heater, regulated with a pulse thermostat. I only ever use heat mats for the baby boas and juveniles that are in various size clear plastic tubs, with the plastic tub placed on top of the heat mat covering from 1/3 to ½ of the floor area with a thermostat probe taped directly to the heat mat.

Enclosure: I find that baby boas and juveniles do better in appropriate size plastic tubs rather than put straight into a large vivarium as they can become insecure in such a large enclosure and can often go off their food as a result. Adults are generally housed in glass fronted wooden vivariums of a size 1200mm x 600mm x 600mm ( 4` x 2` x 2` ) for males and smaller females and 1800mm x 600mm x 600mm (6` x 2` x 2` ) for larger females, higher vivariums are not necessary as adult boas rarely climb.

Substrate: I use paper towels and newspaper for all my boas, but if you require a substrate more pleasing to the eye, aspen bedding, bark and wood chippings, are among many available, although if you do use one of these its not recommended you feed your boa on the substrate due to the risk of ingestion which could lead to impaction and even death. It is better to remove the boa and feed it inside an appropriate size container and placed back in the vivarium after it has eaten.

Lighting: Boas do not require UV lighting of any kind. Daytime ambient light from a room’s window is quite sufficient for a boas needs. Although a strip light can be fitted to allow ease of cage maintenance and cleaning.

Humidity: Apart from the humidity coming from the boas water bowl ,normally boas require no additional raise in humidity (unless your room is very dry) When the boa is in the shedding phase a raise in humidity will then be required and can be raise by moving the water bowl towards the warm end, adding an additional water bowl to the vivarium or placing a larger bowl in , preferable big enough to allow the whole boa to soak, or misting the viv with warm water on a twice daily basis or a combination of both.

Shedding: Most boas will shed every 6 to 8 weeks, although it will be more frequent for babies and juveniles, and a raise in humidity will be required at this time (see above ) At the start of the shed cycle you will notice an overall darker appearance with your boa and the underside will start to go an opaque colour, a few days later the eyes will start to turn opaque, about a week after this the boas eyes will clear and approximately 3 to 5 days later the boa will shed its skin.
Food shouldn’t be offered during this shedding process, a lot of boas will not feed at this time anyway; it will do no harm at all for your boa to go without food for a couple of weeks or so while shedding.

Diet: Baby boas will generally feed on defrosted fuzzy mice or rat pinks as a first food and should be fed every 5 too 7 days, food size is increased with the growth of the boa, the food item should be approximately the same size as the girth of the boa at its thickest part and after feeding should leave a nice size bulge. Either one larger item a feed or 2 or 3 smaller items adding up to the same weight as the larger item, although it will generally work out cheaper to feed one larger item.
If not in the breeding season my adults are fed every 7 to 14 days depending on individuals, and large adult will take 2 or 3 jumbo rats a feed or a rabbit.

Maintenance: The enclosure should be spot checked daily for faeces and urates and cleaned as and when found. Fresh water should be supplied every 1 or 2 days. It is recommended that your hands are washed thoroughly after handling your boa or cleaning the enclosure or accessories.

Final note: Hopefully you will get as much pleasure from your first boa as I have and it will continue to thrive for many years and become a welcome addition to your home and family.