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(BCI) Boa Constrictor Imperator Care Sheets
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Care Sheet for Boa Constrictors

Average Rating Given To This Care Sheet Is 4.76    (1=lowest, 5=highest)    Last Updated: 04/29/2006

Main Category:

Snakes

Sub Category:

Boa Constrictors

 Care Sheet Submitted By:

Munkyboy

Years Experience:

3 to 5 Years

Species:

(BCI) Boa Constrictor Imperator

Other Species or Phases this Care Sheet May Cover:

Common Boa Constrictor, Colombian Boa Constrictor, "Red Tail Boa", Central American Boa Constrictor...

Care Sheet Information:

FAMILY: Boidae
SUBFAMILY:Boinae

NEONATE SIZE: 14 to 22 inches(average 18 inches)
ADULT SIZE: 5-12 feet(males average 6-8 ft, females 7-10 ft.)

LIFESPAN: 20+ years in a healthy captive environment.

SEXING: Neonates may be "popped"(hemipenes exposed through inverting in male specimens) by an experienced herpeculturist, breeder, or Veterinarian. Others should be sexed by way of moist stainless steel sexing probes, which are inserted into the sides of the cloaca. These procedures should only be performed by extremely experienced hands, as severe injury to the snake could easily occur if performed improperly.

TEMPERAMENT: Generally non-aggressive. Neonates can be a bit nippy, but will usually calm with regular handling sessions. Adults tend to be quite docile, but, there are some exceptions. Most will remain docile, as long as their conditions are kept perfect and they are handled regularly.

ENCLOSURE: TYPE:It is My opinion that aquarium type glass enclosures are a poor enclosure choice for a Common Boa Constrictor. It can be extremely difficult for herpeculturists to maintain proper heat and humidity levels in them. A handmade wood, or commercially constructed plastic type cage is a much better option, as they tend to hold heat and humidity quite well, without allot of extra effort.
SIZE: A minimum of at least 1 square foot of ground space, per foot of Boa Constrictor length. Example: An eight foot Boa should be housed in an enclosure no smaller than 8 square foot of ground space( IE. 4ft. long x 2ft. deep= 8 sq. ft.) It would be best to go a bit larger(6 or 8ft. long x 2ft. deep).
FURNISHINGS: A hide box on both the warm and cool sides of the enclosure is necessary for the snake to feel secure. Some artificial vines and plants are a good idea as well. A rock or other rough item should be placed in the enclosure to aid with shedding. A securely attached climbing branch should be offered for young Boa Constrictors, this is not necessary for adult specimens as they are mostly terrestrial. A water bowl with fresh clean water, preferably large enough for the snake to completely submerge itself in, should be offered at all times on the cool side of the enclosure. The water should be changed at least every other day,daily is better, and the bowl should be washed at least twice a week.

DIET: Carnivores which feed on rodents. Boa Constrictors should be fed appropriately sized, pre killed or frozen thawed, rats. Neonates can be started on rat pinks from birth. For the first year of life, 1 rat that is as thick as the thickest body girth of the snake should be fed, once a week. For the second Year of life, one appropriately sized rat should be fed every 10- 14 days. Adults may be fed every 14-21 days. Rabbits may be offered as adults, but, are higher in fat, and will continue to encourage growth. Boas may be maintained to healthier, more manageable, sizes by sticking to rats fed on a moderate schedule. The choice is Yours. Vitamin and mineral supplements are not required.
**Boa Constrictors should not be handled for at least 48 hours after feeding. Handling too early after feeding may cause the snake to regurgitate.

TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY REQUIREMENTS: TEMPS: Boa Constrictors should be offered a warm and cool side of the enclosure, in order so they may thermoregulate to their desired temperature at any time. Warm end temperature should be 86-90f(88f is ideal IMO). Cool end temperature should be 79-83f. A nighttime temperature drop is not necessary unless breeding. Temperatures should not exceed 90f or fall below 75f at any time.
Humidity: Humidity levels should remain at 55-65% at all times. Humidity can be raised into the 70-80% range to aid in shedding, but, should not be kept at these high levels for more than a week at a time.

EQUIPMENT: I prefer under tank heating pads or Flexwatt heat tape, controlled by a digital thermostat, in order to ensure proper warm side enclosure temperatures at all times. I also use a room heater to ensure proper ambient air temperatures. A high quality digital thermometer/hydrometer with outdoor temperature probe is quite useful in measuring the enclosure temperatures on both sides as well as monitoring the ambient enclosure humidity levels. This device should be kept at ground level in order to measure the conditions where the snake spends most of itís time. Cheap dial type measuring devices are extremely inaccurate and unreliable.

LIGHTING: Daytime ambient lighting from a rooms window is all that is necessary for Boa Constrictors. They do not require UV lighting of any kind. Cage lighting is really the choice of the keeper. I use fluorescent cage lighting for cleaning and water changing tasks.

SUBSTRATE: Newsprint, butcher paper, aspen bedding, cypress mulch, and ground coconut husks are all safe choices so long as they remain dry. Avoid cedar shavings and pine shavings as they release aromatic phenolic oils which are toxic to snakes.

SHEDDING: A Boa Constrictor typiclly sheds itís skin about every 6-8 weeks (more frequently as juveniles). Signs to look for to indicate an impending shed are as follows... First the snakes belly tends to turn pinkish and the tail area starts to get rather dull in color. Next the overall color of the snake will get dull and the eyes will get cloudy and blueish, or even white. A few days later, the snakes eyes will clear and the snake will return to itís normal color and brilliance. The actual shedding of the skin, usually occours 2-5 days after the eyes have cleared.
** Do not attempt to handle a Boa Constrictor during a shed cycle, as they are virtually blinded and may become defensive/ agressive.
**Feeding should not be attempted once the eyes start to cloud up or get blue. Feeding may resume after the snake has shed itís skin.
It is very important to increase humidity levels during a shed cycle, in order to ensure a complete and one piece shed. Humidity should be increased to 70%+ when any of these signs are observed. Misting the sides of the enclosure with water several times a day will help to maintain an increased humidity level, as well as adding an additional water bowl to the warm side of the enclosure.

MAINTENANCE: Wash hands and arms with a quality antibacterial soap before and after handling Your Boa Constrictor.Spot clean feces and or urates immediately upon discovery. Change water daily. Keep commercial cleaning chemicals and fumes away from Your enclosures, some could kill Your animal. Observe and maintain temperature and humidity levels daily, and make adjustments as necessary. It will also be helpful to take notes on feeding, sheds and other observations. Check for snake mites and any other health concerns and refer to an experienced Herp. Veterinarian if any health problems are observed. **A qualified Reptile/Exotic animal Veterinarian should be located in Your area well BEFORE You need to see one. Learn as much about the finer points of these animals as possible. It is best to get Your information from as many different sources as possible. Enjoy!
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DISCLAIMER:
The information contain in these care sheets represents only the opinions and husbandry care of members and therefore is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate or reflects the advice or opinions of RepticZone.com. It is always advised to seek additional information or the advice of a qualified veterinarian or qualified reptile dealer. It is also advisable for you to a good amount of research before implementing any of the ideas and care described in these care sheets. We also recommend you ask many questions in their related forums before acting on any information.

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