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Common Boa Keeping - the Perfect Pet Snake

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Common boas (boa constrictor imperator) are underrated as a pet snake. The majority of snakes kept as pets are corn snakes or royal pythons. These species are popular for good reasons. They are small enough to be manageable, easy to care for, and are often good feeders and breeders if kept in optimal conditions. Neither, however, have the majesty of a boa constrictor.

Boa constrictors, like all boas, are part of the Boidae family of snakes, along with the pythons and anaconda. In general the Boidae (or simply Boids) are considered to be large snakes, although none of the boas reach the massive sizes of the true giants such as the green anaconda, or the reticulated python.

Boa Constrictor Scarf by Daniel McConnell
Boa constrictors in general can be considered medium to large snakes, with the common boa being one of the smallest and averaging around 6 - 8 foot in length. Neonates average 14 - 20" in length, and a female may give birth to as many as 40.

Boa constrictor imperator is often confused with boa constrictor constrictor, or the red tailed boa. The true red tails, while superficially similar, are larger than the common boa, with brighter and better defined red anterior markings.

Most species of boa constrictor do very well in captivity. They will generally take frozen/defrosted rodents and due to their docile nature they are easily handled. It must however always be remembered that these are large and powerful snakes, and should always be given the respect they deserve. Large specimens should only be handled when another person is present, and enclosures should always be latched and/or locked especially if children are present.

Boas are best kept individually, and an adult can be kept successfully in an enclosure measuring 6 x 3 feet. Since they are primarily terrestrial, height is not as important as floor area, although many specimens will occasionally climb if given the chance, especially when young. The enclosure needs to be heated to a temperature gradient around 80 - 85 F. A basking spot of 90 - 95 F, and a cool end no lower than 75 F will allow the snake to thermoregulate properly. Heat sources should always be thermostatically controlled, and properly guarded to prevent possible burns.

In addition a water bowl large enough for the boa to soak in should always be provided, along with suitable substrate and at least one hide box. In these conditions a common boa can live for more than 30 years in captivity.

Boa constrictors are not the right pet for everyone, but if you are thinking about keeping snakes do some research and find out more about these amazing animals. While a corn snake or royal python makes a good pet, neither compare to the sheer beauty of the boa constrictor.

Author Resource: Written by Billy Deakin
For more information on boa constrictor imperator and keeping boas, try visiting, a popular website that provides tips, advice and resources on caring for boas.


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