Have you inherited a boa constrictor who is not so tame?
Do you notice sometimes your boa acts aggressively towards you or other people in your home?
Aggressive behavior in a boa constrictor might make you nervous and have you asking:
How do I calm an aggressive boa constrictor?
There are several ways to help calm an aggressive boa, and while most of the time, returning it to its cage is the best option, also calm it while handling by moving slowly, and guiding them in the direction you want rather than restraining.
Calming and taming your snake is likely to take time and patience, but don’t give up.
For more information on calming your aggressive boa constrictor, keep reading this article.
How To Calm An Aggressive Boa Constrictor?
Boa constrictors are not nearly as aggressive as their reputation suggests.
Some of the most commonly kept kinds of boas like the red tail boa and the hog island boa are known for their even and calm temperament.
Quite often, any aggression you see is simply a reaction to something in the environment, causing them to be frightened or agitated.
This stems from a deeply ingrained instinct to avoid becoming someone else’s next meal.
Some rescue boas have been known to be aggressive because they were not adequately cared for or worked with when they were younger.
If your boa is acting aggressively, you do have a few options to calm them.
While you are handling them and they begin to get aggressive, check yourself.
Are you moving slowly?
Is the room you are in quiet, or are people or other animals present and moving around?
You need to be very watchful of the signals they are giving you and react accordingly to help them keep calm or get back to a calm state.
When you are holding them, do not restrain them, instead let them move along, but guide them where you want the boa to go.
If all else fails, return the snake to its enclosure.
This is one of the most effective options and will help the animal reset and feel safe.
As they grow, snakes tend to become less aggressive if they are well cared for and regularly handled.
Baby and juvenile snakes are usually more aggressive than their adult counterparts.
This is because their instincts are in hyperdrive, working to keep the smaller boas safe from predators.
With regular and gentle handling, they will be more trusting of you and their environment.
Handling And Taming An Aggressive Boa
If your boa is on the aggressive side, but you are attempting to work with it, there are a few things to keep in mind when you try a handling session.
Having certain items around you will help make things a little easier as you handle your boa.
A reptile glove is an excellent idea to help you if the snake decides to bite.
Some might opt for a glove on just one hand, but buy a glove for both hands if you think you need it.
A glove will allow you to reach in the tank with a slow and steady motion to lift the snake without jerking away quickly making the snake feel threatened.
If you don’t have a glove, you will feel it when your snake bites, but remember, these snakes are not venomous, and overall it is rare for the bite to be something to panic about.
When you are bitten, do not automatically set the boa back into the enclosure.
This will only reinforce the behavior and tells the snake it gets what it wants by biting.
Also, please do not punish the snake by smacking or tapping it on the head or other parts of the body.
The snake will not associate the punishment with it’s biting but instead will associate you with pain.
After you get the snake to release, thoroughly wash, and treat your bite.
A snake hook will also come in handy to help you put some distance between you and the snake’s head and help you with lifting.
To help your aggressive snake get used to your and your scent, place a used piece of clothing you don’t care about anymore, into the enclosure with them.
Beyond these items, handling an aggressive boa will take time, patience, and consistency.
Start slowly with shorter handling sessions of about 10 minutes once or twice a week.
As the snake starts to get used to this, begin to increase each session’s length and maybe even add an additional handling day during the week.
Make sure you are watching out for how your snake is responding.
Understanding what triggers an aggressive response for them will help you avoid it.
As you work with the animal, they will get more and more used to you, and the idea being handled is not going to be a bad thing for them.
Don’t get frustrated, though if one day you feel like you’re making significant progress and the next, you take a step backward.
Patience will pay off eventually.
Remember, regardless of how tame or aggressive your boa is, handling should never be done when your boa is getting ready to shed, on feeding day or two days after their feeding.
When they are eating or for about 48 hours after, handling the snake may cause them to regurgitate their food, a painful and stressful incident.
Why Is My Boa Aggressive?
As we touched on above, a boa acting aggressively is often a reaction to something frightening them in their environment.
To help prevent an aggressive reaction, move slowly when walking around the room or when attempting to interact with the boa.
Not only will you need to have gentle and slow movements, but also you need to remain calm, avoiding jerky movements as they crawl on you.
Besides these things, issues in their tank or the room you have the tank in might be causing the boa to lash out at you.
Work on reducing noise in the room and check on the lighting and temperature in their enclosure and the room.
You need to make sure there are periods of light and dark to go along with their normal day and night time cycles.
A lighting timer will help you with this, and a thermometer will help you maintain temperatures in the right zone.
Also, make sure you aren’t placing the cage right beside an air-conditioning vent, as this will mess with the temperature in the enclosure.
It is also essential to provide the boa with a hide, so they have a place to feel safe and secure in their tank.
Besides these environmental issues, an angry boa might mean a sick boa.
You maybe aren’t always in the best mood when you feel under the weather, and a pet snake is no different.
A trip to your boa’s veterinarian will determine if your boa does have some illness or other conditions.
Aggression in boas is not something they are known for if the snake has been well cared for and worked with since it was small.
If your snake is acting aggressively, there could be a simple reason for it, like a problem with their environment, an illness, or just a reaction to something around them scaring or agitating them.
Work consistently and patiently with the animal to help tame the aggression and show your boa you are a friend and not a predator.