There are several subspecies of the boa constrictor with the species name boa constrictor that are found in the pet trade. Red-tail boas Boa constrictor constrictor and Boa constrictor imperator can be commonly found in the pet trade among other less common subspecies. The care for all these species is fairly similar. Before committing to the ownership of a boa constrictor, be sure you will be able to handle the size and strength of a full-grown snake for the 25 to 30 years they might live. While generally quite docile in temperament, it is important to respect the inherent strength of these animals and that they could inflict.
Watch my two boa constrictors take their meals! If the worst comes to the worst, it might be best to put them to sleep. Boas Constrictors feeding their body temperature through thermoregulation, and the cage should have a warm side and a cool side. Legal Information: Snakesforpets. Do not place Cruise pregnancy heat source in the center of the cage, place it at one end. The Constrictors feeding in the cool end your boa cage should not drop below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to rinse thoroughly, and run the water bowl through your dishwasher monthly if possible. Avoid handling your snake for at least 24 hours after a meal, or regurgitation might occur. At this point, their feeding instincts will have kicked in.
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Boa constrictor Linnaeus This boa was in rough shape. Your email address will not be published. Spoiler Alert: There is no simple, straightforward answer. Feed only one prey item at each feeding. Hidden categories: Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from April Clothing pants just cavalli jeans articles with dead external links Articles with dead external links from November Articles with Constrictors feeding dead external links Articles Constrictors feeding incomplete citations from April Articles with short description Articles with 'species' microformats All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from February Articles containing video clips. Fedding will soon grasp and constrict the rodent, then begin the long feeding process. Adult boa constrictors commonly reach lengths of 6 feedingg 13 feet. This automatically stretches the time between meals. They are a pale cream color, feding whitish markings.
The boa constrictor Boa constrictor , also called the red-tailed boa or the common boa , is a species of large, non-venomous, heavy-bodied snake that is frequently kept and bred in captivity.
- Boa constrictors typically reach an adult length of feet and up to 60 pounds, according to The Urban Python.
- Although they can grow quite large, boas are surprisingly docile.
- Question: "I recently brought home a baby boa constrictor from a reptile show.
- The boa constrictor Boa constrictor , also called the red-tailed boa or the common boa , is a species of large, non-venomous, heavy-bodied snake that is frequently kept and bred in captivity.
- Please send any questions to: hello animalsathome.
The health of these reptiles depends on a suitable diet. Throughout their life, you can keep a boa constrictor on a diet of mice and rats. Some snake owners choose to breed their own rodents to keep down the cost of feeding their pets. The only variables are how often you should feed them, and how much you should feed them at one time. After hatching, snakes take a little time before they first eat. Boas are no exception. This is roughly ten days after they hatch. In all animals, eggs are designed to provide sustenance to the young inside.
This rule scales, so while you feed a hatchling smaller food, you can feed a fully-grown specimen bigger food. When they hatch, boas are roughly 20 inches long. You should, therefore, start them off on pinkies or fuzzies.
These are young mice that you can buy frozen, in bulk, on Amazon. As your snake grows, you can up the size of their prey. So, while they might start out just eating pinkies, you could upgrade them after a few months.
Move up to full-size mice, or even rats once your snake reaches six feet. Depending on the size and appetite of your snake, you could feed them either one or two prey items.
In the wild, boas eat a wide variety of food. Of course, this kind of diet is difficult to replicate in captivity.
Alternatively, you could feed them four or five rats instead. This is a basic rodent diet, which is what almost all pet snakes live on. You can stock up on frozen rats on Amazon click on this link and store them away in your freezer.
Snakes prefer having one staple prey item and, perhaps, just one occasional treat item. Otherwise, they might go off a certain kind of food and become too fussy. You should also look out for stretched scales. You will see their skin underneath, a different color to their scales, usually pink. Your snake will become overweight if you feed them too often. So how often should you feed a boa constrictor?
A rodent-based diet is ideal for a boa. Other than that, please avoid ever feeding your snake processed foods. Even if they recognize it as something they could eat, you have to be a responsible owner.
Think of them as your child. The list is divided into sections based on size. If you have a hatchling boa, you should time your first ever feed to be immediately after their first shed. You can then feed them a mouse or rat pup every five to seven days. If you want them to grow big and long, you can try feeding them two mice on the same schedule. Feed them either one or two larger prey items. Crucially, though, the older they get, the more infrequently you should feed them.
At this stage of their lives, feed them once every ten to fourteen days. You can space out their feedings at this point to once every three weeks to a month. If your snake appears hungry, decrease the amount of time between each feed. If you have to tempt them each time they feed, then increase the amount of time between each feed.
Feeding a boa constrictor usually is quite easy. They tend to have a strong feeding response. If you are looking to buy a hatchling, talk to the breeder or pet shop before you do. This is going to give you a much easier time when it comes to feeding your boa constrictor. For the sake of clarity, there are three main ways that people feed boas or any snake :. Frozen and thawed is the easiest for you to feed to your snake. It should, therefore, be your first choice.
If this is the case, we have a section on feeding problems at the end of this guide. To feed your snake, you should use tongs. Feeding tongs are exactly what they sound like. They help you to hold the prey item and get it close to your snake.
You can also use them to move the prey item around, as if it were alive. They have a very strong feeding response, and they bite in the blink of an eye. Using tongs avoids this issue altogether. This means leaving it to thaw to room temperature.
Take the prey item in your tongs. Hold it over your snake and see how they react. This is the crucial part of the process.
Hold it a few inches away. This gives them room to strike at the prey, which is what they prefer to do. Like all snakes, they take a break from eating at this time. This is a very quick movement that you can see the snake preparing for. At this point, their feeding instincts will have kicked in. You can let go of the prey item and allow your snake to do the rest.
There are several things that you can try which will most likely get their appetite back. Feeding tongs can help you mimic the movement of a real mouse. Hold them by their middle, and wiggle them backward and forwards. This may encourage your snake to strike. They recognize the smell and will be much more likely to feed. Imagine if you went to a restaurant and ordered spaghetti bolognese.
If you were to try and feed them a half-frozen mouse, they would turn their nose up at it. Try warming up prey before feeding it to them. This should be more than enough to get it warm.
If your snake refuses to eat, this could be a sign of an underlying problem. Both their sides will be curved inwards, with a ridge running along their back. If the worst comes to the worst, it might be best to put them to sleep. And there you have it.
Boa constrictors are common in the tropical regions of Central and South America. Food is a huge driving force for all snakes. Reptiles focus exclusively on staying alive, and they need to eat to do so.
Snakes eat each other more than you may realize. In some respects, it…. Coral snakes are carnivorous by nature. These highly venomous snakes have a varied palate and seek sustenance by hunting for food in the undergrowth. They don't eat fruit and vegetables. There are non-venomous snakes that look…. Reptiles are less common than other pets, so you might not know what corn snakes should eat.
Corns, like all snakes, are obligate carnivores. This means that they should be fed a meat-based diet. Many animals are renowned for eating their young. Does this…. Boa constrictors and ball pythons are both non-venomous, tropical snakes that kill their prey by constriction. They are both considered…. What does a boa constrictor eat?
In the wild, they eat a variety of rodents, birds, bats and, lizards. In captivity, you can feed them a rodent-based diet throughout their life. There are also specific snack items that you can feed boas. Other Related Articles:.
Depending on the age of the snake, you can feed it anywhere from once a week to twice a month. If you have the necessary resources, time and dedication, boa constrictors are very rewarding reptiles to keep as pets. They will still strangle already-dead prey before eating it. The thickest part of the boa constrictor is in the middle of its body. Princeton University Press.
Constrictors feeding. Ball Python e-Book
Boa constrictors also occupy the burrows of medium-sized mammals , where they can hide from potential predators. Boa constrictors generally live on their own, and do not interact with any other snakes unless they want to mate. They are nocturnal , but they may bask during the day when night-time temperatures are too low. As semi-arboreal snakes, young boa constrictors may climb into trees and shrubs to forage; however, they become mostly terrestrial as they become older and heavier.
Their bite can be painful, especially from large snakes, but is rarely dangerous to humans. Specimens from Central America are more irascible, hissing loudly and striking repeatedly when disturbed, while those from South America tame down more readily.
Their prey includes a wide variety of small to medium-sized mammals and birds. The size of the prey item increases as they get older and larger. Boa constrictors are ambush predators, so often lie in wait for an appropriate prey to come along, when they attack.
However, they have also been known to actively hunt, particularly in regions with a low concentration of suitable prey, and this behaviour generally occurs at night. The boa first strikes at the prey, grabbing it with its teeth; it then proceeds to constrict the prey until death before consuming it whole. Unconsciousness and death likely result from shutting off vital blood flow to the heart and brain , rather than suffocation as was previously believed; constriction can interfere with blood flow and overwhelm the prey's usual blood pressure and circulation.
It takes the snake about 4—6 days to fully digest the food, depending on the size of the prey and the local temperature. After this, the snake may not eat for a week to several months, due to its slow metabolism. Boa constrictors are viviparous , giving birth to live young.
As such, female boas in inadequate physical condition are unlikely to attempt to mate, or to produce viable young if they do mate. In , a boa constrictor was shown to have reproduced asexually via parthenogenesis.
This is only the third genetically confirmed case of consecutive virgin births of viable offspring from a single female within any vertebrate lineage. In , Boa constrictors, along with Boa imperators and Burmese python , were found to contain a new set of sex determining chromosomes.
During the breeding season, the female boa emits pheromones from her cloaca to attract males, which may then wrestle to select one to breed with her.
Copulation can last from a few minutes to several hours, and may occur several times over a few-week period. The young are independent at birth and grow rapidly for the first few years, shedding regularly once every one to two months. At 3—4 years, boa constrictors become sexually mature and reach the adult size of 6—10 feet 1. This species does well in captivity , usually becoming quite tame.
It is a common sight in both zoos and private reptile collections. Though still exported from their native South America in significant numbers, they are widely bred in captivity. When kept in captivity, they are fed mice, rats, rabbits , chickens , and chicks depending on the size and age of the individual. Captive life expectancy is 20 to 30 years, with rare accounts over 40 years,  making them a long-term commitment as a pet.
The greatest reliable age recorded for a boa constrictor in captivity is 40 years 3 months and 14 days. Up to Boa constrictors are very popular within the exotic pet trade, and have been both captured in the wild and bred in captivity. Today, most captive boa constrictors are captive-bred, but between and , , live boa constrictors were imported into the United States. Boa constrictors have also been harvested for their meat and skins, and are a common sight at markets within their geographic range.
After the reticulated python , boa constrictors are the snake most commonly killed for snakeskin products, such as shoes, bags, and other items of clothing. In some regions, boa constrictor numbers have been severely hit by predation from humans and other animals and over-collection for the exotic and snakeskin trades.
Most populations, though, are not under threat of immediate extinction, thus they are within Appendix II rather than Appendix I. Boa constrictors may be an invasive species in Florida. Some appear to be based more on location than biological differences, such as B. Lucia boa. Several other subspecies have been described at different times, but currently these are no longer considered to be subspecies by many herpetologists and taxonomists.
The subspecific name ortonii is in honor of American naturalist James Orton. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Species of snake. For other uses, see Boa constrictor disambiguation. Linnaeus , Main article: Constriction.
Play media. Washington, District of Columbia: Herpetologists' League. The Spruce Pets. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 11 July Arima, Trinidad. The New Encyclopedia of Snakes. Princeton University Press. Krieger Pub. Archived from the original on Retrieved Retrieved on Litteratura Serpentium.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Snakes of the World. Living Snakes of the World in Color. Frozen rodents are available at certain pet stores, but you can also use a specialist online retailer. Buying in bulk often lowers the cost. Once you bring your boa constrictor home, avoid feeding it for the first five days.
Moving home is a stressful event for a snake. If your boa is stressed, it will likely regurgitate its meal. Once your boa has finished eating, leave her alone for at least 48 hours. Avoid handling your snake for two days after feeding. The stress of handling can often cause snakes to regurgitate their food.
You can either feed your snake inside their vivarium or in a separate container. If you feed in a separate container, make be very gentle when placing your boa back into their vivarium.
Young boa constrictors need to be fed more often than adults do. When you purchase your boa, make sure to ask the breeder for the age of the snake. You should also ask them how often she usually feeds, to get a good starting point. Some people find that their adult boa only requires feeding every three weeks. Use the health and happiness of your snake as a guideline.
Pregnant females need feeding slightly more often, just like pregnant women. This is because boa constrictors are viviparous they live birth to live young. Regurgitation may happen if your boa is stressed, or if the meal is too big. However, it can sometimes happen for seemingly no reason. According to research in the Journal of Experimental Biology , snakes can go months without eating. In the cited study, the researchers deliberately starved multiple species of snakes for over five months.
If at all unsure, contact a veterinarian or professional herpetologist. You should now be familiar with all the basic know-how required to get you started. However, there are some additional things that you might want to know. Boa constrictors need to shed their skin to grow. Their skin should come off in one whole piece, starting at the head. Young boa constrictors can shed up to 9 times a year. For adults, times per year is normal. Your boa constrictor should have no trouble shedding on its own, as long as the humidity is right.
From this point, avoid feeding or handling your snake. The eyes will eventually become clear again, and shedding will start shortly afterward. Boa constrictors start off small. Newborn boas are approximately as big as the palm of your hand curled up.
During the first few years of life, boa constrictors grow quickly , and they never stop growing. Even once they reach adulthood, your boa constrictor will continue to grow for the rest of its life. Adult boa constrictors commonly reach lengths of 6 to 13 feet. Feeding your boa more often will cause it to grow larger. Interestingly, females tend to grow larger than males. This may be because larger females can carry larger and more babies, which would help the species survive.
A report in the scientific journal Spixiana identified a boa constrictor which was approximately Boa constrictors grow throughout their lives.
They reach maturity adulthood around the age of 3, but they continue to grow throughout adulthood. If you follow our above feeding guide, your boa constrictor should stay at a healthy weight throughout her life. However, if you feed her too often or not often enough, that could change.
If you suspect that your snake may be over or underweight, take them to a veterinarian for confirmation. Then, adjust their diet accordingly. When deciding to purchase an animal, you must factor their lifespan into your timeline.
A boa constrictor, like any species of snake, is a long-term commitment. Most snake species have similarly long lifespans to boa constrictors. Boa constrictors are one of the hardiest types of pet snake. However, like all other animals, they experience health problems.
Boa constrictors can also suffer from ailments such as organ disease, cancer, and even gout. If you suspect any health problems with your boa , read our guide and take it to a veterinarian for advice. Many people consider handling to be one of the most fun parts of snake ownership.
Handling refers to getting the snake out of its enclosure and allowing it to slither over your arms and body. Handling is purely for our amusement. However, if you choose not to handle your boa constrictor for weeks at a time, she may object to being handled again.
Regular and consistent handling will keep your snake tame. However, boa constrictors are strictly solitary animals. In the wild, they would never choose to socialize with another snake. Boas in the wild mate roughly once per year, and avoid each other the rest of the time. Housing two snakes together could create so much stress that your snake may even stop eating. So, avoid the temptation to purchase a friend for your boa constrictor.
In general, boa constrictors make good beginner snakes. Boas are relatively easy to take care of once you know how and are usually remarkably tame. Along with the above, there is one more thing that any boa constrictor owner needs: a love and passion for snakes. If you have the necessary resources, time and dedication, boa constrictors are very rewarding reptiles to keep as pets.
Hognose snakes are a group of Colubrid species, Colubrids being the most common snake family. Boa constrictors are common in the tropical regions of Central and South America. Rosy boas are very inquisitive, yet timid. They love to explore, and enjoy human contact.
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They can grow to be 13 feet long and have some beautiful color morphs. They are relatively easy to care for, making them a good choice for a beginner snake. Their main body markings are both lighter in color than standard boas. Albino Boas: These are amelanistic, meaning they completely lack melanin. Anery Boas: They lack the color red. They are usually silver in color with dark grey saddle markings.
Ghost Boas: They contain both anery and hypo genes. They appear similar to anery boas but are lighter in color. Snow Boas: They contain both albino and anery genes. They are a pale cream color, with whitish markings. As they age, they can become more yellow. How do boa constrictors kill prey? Instead, they strike at prey to catch it, and then constrict squeeze it by wrapping their bodies around it. Boa constrictors are very docile.
Boas enjoy being handled and will happily sit with you, sharing the warmth of your body. How much do boas cost? Tank depth: At least 0. Aspen Shavings: One of the most attractive options, but can be difficult to clean. Cypress Mulch and Coconut Shaving: Quite attractive and helps to increase humidity. This can be handy at times, such as during shedding. Paper Fiber Pet Bedding: This is heat-treated for hygiene and is more absorbent than wood shavings.
To feed your boa, you should thaw the frozen mouse or rat. Place it into a Ziploc bag and submerge it in warm water for around half an hour. She will soon grasp and constrict the rodent, then begin the long feeding process. The rodent should be slightly smaller than the diameter of the snake at its widest point its girth.
Make sure to start feeding them larger mice and rats as your snake grows. In captivity, the average life expectancy for a boa constrictor is 20 to 30 years. Some live even longer than this.
What Does a Boa Constrictor Eat? — Snakes for Pets
Please send any questions to: hello animalsathome. Some of the most common questions surrounding boa constrictor care have to do with feeding. I would argue it is also the area where most mistakes are made. If you are like me, when you first started doing research on feeding you found 10 different answers that all contradicted each other.
I know how frustrating that feels! In this post, I hope give you the tools you need to be able to solve this problem on your own. Why should you be able to solve it on your own? Spoiler Alert: There is no simple, straightforward answer. First, we must lay down a foundation of information to properly address the question of feeding. In this post we are going to look at both those questions as well as some other important information that is often left out of the discussion!
First, I should say: I am not an expert! I am just sharing the experience I have had working with my animals. Vin is a legend in the Boa world, he has more experience than most people in the industry and in my opinion his recommendations are very valuable. For my full review on the book, check out my Resources page. It is pretty easy to make an animal fat! Boa constrictors are no exception. Over feeding a boa will quickly turn your boa into a stuffed sausage.
It may sound funny but it is actually quite dangerous. Snakes are not adapted to be able to easily store large amounts of fat. Mammals including humans store both subcutaneous under the skin and intra-abdominal fat. This is a true statement for many reasons, none of which we need to get into here. Snakes , like most reptiles store the majority of their fat intra-abdominally.
Internal fat is only visible once an animal is direly over-weight. An over-weight boa will develop Fatty Liver Disease and die prematurely, period. I would think an under-weight boa is more likely to be due to a parasite or illness in most cases.
An under-weight boa will have a slight triangular shaped body, i. It will also have a reduced muscle tone. This boa was in rough shape. She was over 1 year old, covered in stuck shed and very frail. I have no idea where the lady got this information from but she was feeding the boa mouse fuzzies g each per week!!
This boa should have already been on g hoppers at this point. So the snake was simultaneously being overfed and underfed, the meals were too small and too frequent.
Healthy Boa constrictor. Boa constrictors are very muscular snakes. There should be no protruding spine and absolutely no rolls or fat rings wrinkles in the skin are normal. Note you can also see a groove running down the middle of the tail indicating lateral muscle development on the tail. Also note there are no wrinkles in the tail even though it is tightly coiled i.
Each side of the snake should be relativity flat. In other words the animal should be more shaped like a square tube than a round one. So now that you have an idea of what to look for when judging the health of a boa constrictor we can review a few more vital pieces of information that will help you understand you boa:.
Now you can see why this is not a simple question to answer! However, with the information above we can tackle those two common questions I listed above:. The prey item should be no thicker than the the thickest part of the animal!
At the most, the meal should produce a slight lump. I know that is not a clear-cut answer. Also please note: this is the way I fed! It is just a general idea. Try your best to pick a meal size that is slightly smaller or equal to the thickest part of the animal. Again, I will show you a breakdown chart of the feed schedule I have followed with by boas and what I plan on doing in the future as they mature.
This chart indicates the days between meals in the two right hand columns. I always gradually increase space between meals until I get to where I am shooting for. This does not mean you should follow this exactly. Reason being is there are many factors that could alter how often you feed, the most important being temperature. You need to watch your animals, learn their body language. If they start hunting one day after you feed, you may not being feeding large enough meals. Watch their weight, look and feel their body tone, these are all good cues to keep your feeding schedule in line.
Okay, last but not least! I personally think it is VERY important to keep a log book for you snakes. Especially if you have more than one or two!
Boa constrictors are not hard to care for, but it is important that you stick to a proper care plan. A log book can help you do that. It gives you something to refer, especially when trying to figure out the animals behavioral patterns. Below I have shared a PDF of the boa constrictor feeding chart that I use to keep track of food intake for my boas. I print these sheets out and put them in a binder I like writing things by hand , but I also made the PDF fill-able so you can keep a digital copy instead.
Please help yourself by clicking the photo or link below! If you have any questions, comment them below or shoot me an email! Watch my two boa constrictors take their meals! Slow Motion! Boa constrictor feeding chart included. I would definitely slow down on her feedings though. At 3 months a hopper mouse every days would be more appropriate. How big are the rats you are feeding her? My boa is about 2 years old and 5 foot 3 inches give or take.
How many could he eat? And if he needs to eat something bigger where can I find bigger frozen feed. My recommendation would be to slow down on the feeding ASAP. Boas will always look hungry and they will pretty much eat whenever food is offered to them. How much does your snake weigh out of curiosity? To put it in perspective, my boas are 4 years old and are about 5 feet long and are around g, they each eat 1 medium sized rat every days my medium rats are usually around g.
You want the meal-sized to only leave a slight lump in their body. I just wanted to thank you for your concise and correct information regarding boa feeding and care. I have read tons of material, including anything I can find by Vin Russo, but it is just soo nice to have all of the information laid out here for reference.
I also use the feeding chart you provided. Keep up the great work! Your email address will not be published. By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Skip to content. Feeding my snakes never gets old! Here are the two main feed related questions: What size should the prey item be?
How often should I feed? Disclaimer: First, I should say: I am not an expert! Do you know what a healthy Boa looks like? The bad news is… Internal fat is only visible once an animal is direly over-weight.
Underweight boa. Here is the same from above boa 1-year later: Healthy boa constrictor Note you can also see a groove running down the middle of the tail indicating lateral muscle development on the tail.
It is also a very good idea to track the weight of your snake so you can monitor its growth. This means they do not have to produce their own body heat, unlike you and I and all other mammals.