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The Red-Tailed Boa belongs to the Boa Constrictor family.
These snakes can be found from Northern Mexico through Central America and into South America. They can also be found on the islands off the coast of Mexico, Central America and South America.
Size and Longevity:
Female Boa Constrictors can grow anywhere between 3 and 13 feet long depending on the amount of food available to them. Male Boa Constrictors are generally smaller coming in at about two-thirds the size of females, generally 7 to 10 feet long. An adult’s weight averages about 60lbs. The average life of a Boa Constrictor is 20-30 years, with a few on record reaching 40 years old.
Boas do well in captivity and are generally very tame, but can be unpredictable during their shed cycle due to lack of visibility when the old skin begins to cover the eyes. Like most snakes, boas are nocturnal, hiding during the day time and coming out at night. These snakes are solitary animals and are normally only found together during mating season.
Boa Constrictors have a large range of colors and distinguishing features which make them a big hit with breeders and snake collectors. The Albino boa is usually white with red patterns on their tails and their heads are usually cream color with some orange and yellow coloration.
Habitat and Cage:
As babies boa constrictors do not need much space, but as they grow, so must their environment. The general rule is that the enclosure should be no less than two-thirds of the snakes full length. Boas will climb as babies, but as they grow they will become more ground-oriented and will rarely be seen climbing anywhere. Providing a log or small climbing tree as babies is sufficient.
Some type of substrate needs to be provided, which is generally aspen shavings or newspaper. Never use any type of pine in the enclosure because the oils from pine are toxic to snakes. The terrarium should be set up so there is a hot end (86°-92°F) and cool end (75° – 85°F). The temperature should not be allowed to drop below 75°F or be raised above 95°F at any time. There should be a hiding spot in both temperature zones for the snake. Not providing adequate hiding areas can lead to stress on the snake which can cause health problems and a shorter life span.
Boas live in hot and humid areas, therefore their cages should imitate this environment. The humidity should be kept near 50% and should be raised to 70% during the shedding period, but for no longer than one week. A water bowl that is big enough for the snake to coil inside of must be provided. The water is necessary for the snake’s survival and will help maintain the humidity of the enclosure.
These snakes do not need any special lighting, but they will need approximately 12 hours of light and 12 hours of a darkness each day to simulate their natural environment. Almost any type of light will work including a regular light bulb or the natural light.
Young boas need to eat once a week while adults only need to eat once a month. Overfeeding (power feeding) can lead to long term health problems and a shorter life span. Small food sources include mice, birds, bats, lizards and amphibians. Larger food sources are rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and chickens. The meal provided should be approximately the size of the largest part of the snake’s body. During a shed cycle a snake may refuse to eat, but once the shed cycle is over the snake should go back to eating as normal.
Handling a snake too soon after eating can induce regurgitation and is not recommended for at least 2 days. It takes approximately 4 to 6 days to completely digest food depending on the size of the prey and the temperature it is in.