Red-tailed Boa Care
There are many different species of boas, some requiring very similar care while others are completely different. This care guide is for the Columbia Red-tailed Boa which is a really popular pet boa species. Red-tailed Boas reach sizes of 6-8 feet for females and around 5 to 7 feet for males. There have even been some accounts of female boas getting to be 10 feet in length. They live an average of 15-30 years in captivity but there are some cases of captive boas living over 40 years.
Baby Red tail boas can be housed in a 10 to 20 gallon cage. Floor space is more important then height as they spend most of the time on the ground. Babies may enjoy climbing but as they grow and get heavier they tend to stay more on the ground. Adults will need to be housed in a cage that is at least 4 feet by 2 feet but larger may be necessary if it's a female or a bigger specimen. It's very important to make sure you can house a snake that gets 8 feet long before purchasing a baby boa.
There are many options for substrate including paper, aspen bedding, coconut husk, and newspaper just to name a few. There are many brand name beddings out there that are safe for boas. Just be sure never to use pine or cedar as these are toxic to your snake. Also avoid any bedding that could have pesticides, chemicals, or bacteria in it.
Keep the cool side of the tank around 75 degrees and the hot spot of the tank 90 degrees. UVB lighting is not necessary but can provide some benefit if used.
Always provide a water bowl for your boa. They will drink from it and soak in it often when they are shedding, and it also helps keep the humidity high in the cage. You want the humidity to be fariely high to allow for proper shedding but make sure it's not so high that mold develops or the bedding gets really wet.
Boas can be maintained being fed every 7 to 10 days. Some boas will eat more often some less often however do not worry as they, like many other snakes, can go a long time without food. Smaller more frequent meals are usually better. Avoid feeding large meals as this could increase chances of regurgitation. You don't want to feed any prey item larger then the largest part of the snakes body which is three quarters of the way down its body.
Handling these large animals can be really amazing. Caution should always be taken when handling any animal but most boas are very friendly and can make great pets to handle. It's important to know your individual snake's temperament to avoid any unnecessary bites.
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