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Boa Constrictor Care

(Boa constrictor constrictor)
(Boa constrictor imperator)

Size: Boa Constrictors hatch out of the egg at about 12" long, but will grow very fast. In just one year they can grow from 12" to 36". Adults can grow as big as 12' but 8-10' is the average. Babies to 6' juveniles can be held by yourself but once they get bigger than that you will need some assistance.
Food: Boa Constrictors are not picky eaters. They will eat almost any rodent you offer them, as long as it isn't too big. They should be fed one appropriately sized prey item, once a week. The prey item should be just slightly bigger around than the snake. As the snake grows, the food offered will need to get bigger. Eventually, you will be feeding it rabbits.
Caging: Considering the growth rate of a Boa Constrictor, you may want to build an adult sized cage which should measure at least 6' in length, 4' in depth and 4' in height, to start off with. That way, you won't have to keep buying new cages every couple of months. Keep in mind, you will need to provide a proper hiding place, a source of clean, fresh water, a sufficiently warm area to bask, and something sturdy to climb on.
Substrate: Boa Constrictors, like all other snakes, like to bury themselves in their substrate. It makes them feel secure. The preferred substrate is Aspen Shavings. If you cannot find Aspen Shavings, you can use newspaper or reptile carpet as a substitute. *Never use anything made from Pine or Cedar! It will kill your snake.
Heating & Lighting: Boa Constrictors, like all herptiles, are ectothermic, meaning they rely on outside sources of heat to warm their blood. I would recommend using a heat pad to provide a basking spot. The basking spot should reach around 105 degrees. And the cool end should be around 85 degrees. As far as lighting, there is no scientific proof that snakes need UV lighting. But if you want to provide it anyway, you must turn it off at night so you don't stress the snake.

2004 Herptilian