The Boa Constrictor or Red Tail Boa (boa constrictor constrictor and Boa constrictor imperator) is a South and Central American species of snakes in the boiidae family. They are a medium-sized constrictor with adults growing around 6-8 feet for females 5-6 feet for males. Although females can get to lengths of 10 feet or more. “True red tails” (boa constrictor constrictor or BCC) are usually the biggest while central American (boa constrictor imperator or BCI) localities tend to be the smallest. Boa Constrictors range from southern Mexico to Brazil.
Housing an adult boa constrictor can be a small challenge as they will need a pretty large enclosure. They are relatively easy to house as a baby. However, they grow quickly, so if you want to purchase one plan on upgrading the tank as the snake grows. Baby and juvenile red tail boas can easily be kept in 40 gal or 20 gal enclosures that are 36 inches long by 12 inches wide. As an adult, the enclosure should at minimum being 48 inches long by 24 inches wide. They are a semi-arboreal snake so height is not as important as ground space. As they get larger they will spend more and more time on the ground of the enclosure. They also require 2 hides. Like most snakes, one should be places on the cool side and one of the warm side. Also a branch or some other perch that the snake can climb is a great addition to any red tail boa enclosure. The enclosure opening must also be secured as they are strong snakes and can escape. Latches or locks are a must in order to keep this snake from escaping its enclosure.
In the enclosure, lighting is a plus for aesthetic purposes but it should not be used as a heating source. The enclosure should have an under the tank heater for around one-third of the area and it should provide a temperature around 90° F (32.2° C). While the ambient temperature on the cool side should be around the high 70s. The temperature on the cool side should not go lower than 75° F (23.9° C).
They are beautiful and easy to keep!
Humidity also must be kept at the correct range. Being from the tropics the boa constrictor needs a 60%-70% humidity in order to thrive. You can achieve this by having a mister or fogger device as well as moisture-retaining substrates like Eco-earth or Cypress mulch. However, make sure you do not allow the substrate to become overly damp because it can lead to bacteria or mold growth that can be hazardous to the red tail boa. Provide the snake clean water daily in a dish that is deep enough for it to submerge itself. You should replace water daily or if the boa defecates in the dish. Substrate should be changed monthly and you should spot clean the enclosure daily in order to keep the environment clean.
The feeding of boa constrictors is simple. They need to be fed a frozen thawed rodent once a week. The rodent shouldnt be thicker than the widest part of the snake. If done correctly there might be a slight bump but it should not be a noticeable the day after feeding. Make sure not to handle it for at least 24 hours after feeding.
Should You Get A Boa Constrictor?
Boa constrictors are rewarding pets. They grow to impressive sizes and mostly are docile in temperament. Many snakes that are well socialized enjoy being handled by people and will perch on their handler as they explore the environment. Their temperature and humidity needs are also easy to achieve. Potential keepers should keep in mind their large size and long lifespan. Make sure to have enough room and money in order to properly house them as they will be in a 20-30 year commitment! If that sounds good they make excellent pets! They also come in a myriad of morphs with size and color variation to suit a potential owner’s fancy.
Required items for Boa Constrictor care (Click links for our reviews of recommendations):
- Enclosure 36″ x 12″ for young and 48″ x 24″ as an adult
- Heat Source
- 2 Hides
- Water Bowl