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Care Sheet - Common Boa

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Common boas originate from Central to Southern parts of America; they have a silvery
grey to brown coloured body with the tail being more distinct to a reddish Mahogany. They
have red to brown coloured saddles with a chunky, beautiful triangular shaped head with
the most intriguing eyes. They can ascertain an adult size of up to 9ft and have a life span
of 20+ years.
These snakes should be kept in a forest style enclosure with some sturdy climbing
branches, Even though these are heavily bodied snakes they are very good climbers and
welcome the opportunity. The best substrate we would suggest would be Aspen or Beach
Chippings. Provide plenty of hiding areas, and a large water bowl so the snake can
submerse itself if it wishes. Be sure not to keep these snakes wet as this could lead to
respiratory problems. Temperature at the hot end of the enclosure should be 88 - 95F.
Even though these snakes are docile care should be taken when handling and we advise
these snakes should only be kept by the more experienced handlers due to their size, and
never on your own. Accidents can happen.
To house and adult common boa the minimum size requirement would be 55x 24 x 24
minimum for an adult up to 8 foot and 72"(L) x 24" x 24" wooden vivarium for larger.
For heating, either using a 250 Watt ceramic bulb covered with guard (to eliminate any risk
of your animal being burned) used in conjunction with a suitable thermostat we would
recommend either the Habistat Pulse Proportional Thermostat which can be used with any
non light emitting heat source, or a Microclimate AHS 250W Heater which is a Ceramic
Infra Red heating element and pulse proportional thermostat housed in an easy to fit metal
structure, which features an independent cut out for controlled initial warm up and extra

Any heat source must be controlled by a thermostat which is one of the most important
pieces of equipment you will need when housing any Reptile, This should be used in
conjunction with 2 thermometers one at the warm end of the enclosure and one at the cool
end to ensure the temperatures are reasonably accurate.
For lighting of the enclosure us a 2% UVB tube, As UVB light is not essential for snakes
but UVA has been found beneficial in the well being of Reptiles.
Lighting also helps produce a day and night time cycle. Provide 8 - 12 hours of lighting per
Substrate we would suggest would be a Aspen or beech chippings.
Big sturdy pieces of cork branch for any climbing activity and plenty of cork bark which will
provide good shady hiding areas for your snake to curl up and feel secure while it rests in
the daytime.
These should be placed at both the warm and cool end of your enclosure to give the snake
the choice of where it can hide, usually after feeding you may find your snake hiding under
the warm end to help digest its meal, but if you only have one hide at the cool end then
this gives the snake no choice as they will not just lay at the hot end exposed.
A large heavy bowl for water should also be placed in the enclosure large enough if
possible for your snake to submerse itself if it wishes which in most cases is usually when
they are in shed.
The size of mouse / rat changes as they grow but eventually youre Common Boa
depending on the largest part of the body will usually be feeding on extra large rats or
When your Boa is small feeding should be done every 7 days but an adult Common Boa
feeding on a large rat we would suggest to feed every 10 - 14 days. This gives your snake
a chance to fully digest the larger meal.
Do not handle you snake on the day of feeding and allow 48-72 hours after feeding before
Ensure your mouse or rat is fully defrosted before feeding to your snake, the best way to
defrost your food is to leave it at room temperature in a sealed box or zip lock plastic bag
(to stop any flies) until fully defrosted.
Never feed your snake by hand always use a large pair of tweezers for babies and adults.
Your Common Boa may not feed when going into or in shed but do not worry just try again
once it has sloughed its skin. At this point you may find your Common Boa is hunting and
ready for feeding.
John Gamesby