Caring for Your New Red-Tail Boa
The inside scoop on Boa constrictor species

 
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Red-Tail Boa Factoids

Origin

All captive-bred these days

Sexual Differences

Females larger.  Males have longer “spurs.”

Temperature

80o to 90o days. Cooler at night. 

Climber

Provide very sturdy branches.

Schedule

More active evenings and nights

Handling

Probably tamest of the large boids

Substrate

Make sure it’s easy to clean – no cedar chips

Security

Provide a hide box

Foods

Primarily rodents.  Will eat birds.

Water

Needs a large water bowl.  Clean often.

Supplements

None needed

Housing

Provide lots of room

Cleaning Schedule

Weekly usually suffices

Breeding Age

Starts around three years

Gestation Period

2 months

Brood Size

Bears 15 to 40 live babies

Breeding Comments

Usually needs a 2 to 3 month “cool period”


LA Pic
Red-tail boa constrictors look good and usually act mellow.

LA
Pretty snake -- two footer.

Origins:  Originally from Central and South America, virtually all boa constrictors are captive bred these days.  Obviously, the new color morphs – like albinos and striped boas -- are captive bred.  Captive-bred snakes are usually free of mites, ticks, and intestinal worms -- if you keep their cage clean.
 

Sam Musilli, Mansfield, OH, June 8, 2009
Hello Mr. Arnold! First off I would like to thank you for your great site. It has proved useful as well as entertaining. While I have not personally bred my boas (yet, but have plans for it once they come of age) my uncle has many times, and is friends with a reptile breeder/owner of a specialty store in Columbus, OH. He has bred boas many times, as well as a wide assortment of colubrids, ball pythons, burmese pythons, reticulated pythons, etcetera (what's so rare as etc. xD lol). Anyhoo, they both agree that boa constrictor constrictor (red-tail boas) and boa constrictor imperator (common boas) can be bred at about 4.5 feet. This means the females could be bred at two years, but shouldn't be bred until three or four years (until six feet) or unless stunting is inevitable. Males can be bred at four feet without risk of stunting. If you hold any interest in viewing the website of my uncle's friend's business, it is captivebornreptiles.com. Thank you again,

A:  Thanks.  I'll add your breeding info to my boa page.  LA

Natural Environment:  Some come from hot and humid areas with plenty of water.  Others come from savannah-like dry forests in Central America.

LA Pic
Little red-tail boas make friendly pets.

Temperament:  Boa constrictors like to eat.  They get more active when hungry.  When full, they like to loaf in warm water or in the sun -- very much like Floridians.  Daily handling keeps them tame – even the big ones.  Many people walk around with these draped over their shoulders or wrapped around their necks.  We prefer Mickey Mouse ties.

Kendall
Most red-tail boas stay mellow as they grow.

Maximum Size.  Red-tail boas top out at a theoretical 12 feet.  We usually see adults that average 6 to 8 feet long.  Do not expect our city Zoo to take your snake off your hands if it grows too large for you.

 

LA Pic
You can't see the other three feet of this red-tail boa.

Des Moines Ordinance.  The City of Des Moines prohibits the possession of constrictor snakes in excess of six feet in length.

Foods:  A weekly feeding of a suitable size rodent suffices.  Do not over feed.  Power feeding wastes your money, usually makes your red-tail boa obese, and always grows it too big too fast (and too fat).  Feed a food item no larger than the width of your red-tail boa’s body.  Too large a food can cause your red-tail to vomit its half-digested meal.  Freshly killed or frozen (thawed, of course) rodents will keep your snake free of unnecessary wounds.  Cornered rats bite like crazy.  (You would too.)  Frozen foods also help keep your snake free of parasites.  Do not handle after feeding -- to or three days off.

 

Supplements:  You’ll need no added vitamins or mineral supplements.  Your red-tail boa gets all the nutrition it needs from its food.

LA
These two 30-inchers can easily hide in their hollow log.

Lighting:  Red-tail boas don’t need full-spectrum light, but they do appreciate a regular day and night schedule.  Make sure your snake cannot reach any bare bulbs.  Many snakes will burn themselves on hot light bulbs.

LA
Give your red-tail boas room to soak at their leisure.

LA
Larger red-tails need a much larger water source -- like a cat pan.

LA
The red part goes in last.

Water:  Give your red-tail boa a great big water bowl – as big as you can carry.  Cat pans work great.  Fill your water container only part way.  When your snake slides into a too full water dish, it will over flow.

LA
Don't play with a green tree boa.  In fact, don't even get one of these pretty but nasty biters.

Handling: Handle your red-tail boa daily to keep it “friendly” (except right after eating).  Never handle any snake after handling rodents.  Snakes have poor eyesight.  Constrictors locate their food by smell and by body heat.  If you smell like a rat, your red-tail boa may want to see if you taste like a rat.  Do not handle your red-tail boa when its eyes cloud over prior to shedding.

LA
Baby red-tail boas make great pets.

LA
Kids like baby red-tail boas.

LA
Likes to climb.

Last Word:  Huge red-tail boas do not belong in houses with small children.  Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling any reptile.  LA.

LA
3-foot red-tail boa.

LA

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