Are you interested in adopting a boa constrictor?
What kind of environment and feeding schedule does a boa constrictor require?
Owning a boa constrictor is fulfilling and rewarding.
They make great pets, but they do require a good amount of awareness from their owners.
This article will provide a guide for beginner boa constrictor owners and what to expect.
A beginner boa constrictor owner must learn about the expected behavior of these snakes and ideal environmental and feeding conditions to help them stay happy and healthy.
Table of Contents
Important Knowledge For Beginner Boa Constrictor Owners And What to Expect
In the following sections, you’ll learn the basic ins and outs of boa constrictors to take care of your new pet confidently.
This essential information includes habitat requirements, behavioral and physical characteristics, and more.
These factors are essential to know for any pet you have.
Read on to learn all you need to know about these beautiful and amicable creatures!
What Boa Constrictor Makes The Best Pet?
Captive-bred boas, as opposed to imported ones, are ideal for pet owners.
They are generally more domesticated than wild snakes, used to being enclosed and handled by humans.
It is also easier to verify their history and health.
The best way for you to find a captive-bred boa constrictor is through an experienced and professional breeder.
Breeders will know all about the constrictor’s family history and health.
How To Raise A Family-Friendly Boa Constrictor
These snakes make good family pets.
They are docile and can get used to being handled by humans.
Are Boa Constrictors Dangerous To Humans?
Humans (even babies) are too big for boas to eat.
Still, it’s essential to respect their strength.
They can still hurt you, but with proper socialization and handling technique, they won’t.
Getting a juvenile is the best way to raise a family-friendly boa constrictor.
Frequent handling will make them less defensive and more docile.
Follow these tips when handling a boa constrictor:
- Place one hand under the body near its head.
- Place the other hand under the back half of its body.
- Don’t panic if it wraps around you – it won’t constrict unless it feels unstable or threatened.
Average Costs And Ongoing Expenses
Juvenile snakes are generally less expensive than adults.
They can cost anywhere from $50 to $200.
Setting Up Your Snake’s Cage
In addition to purchasing the snake, setting it up in an appropriate cage will cost between $100 and $400.
These expenses include the enclosure itself, plus necessary items like heating elements, water dishes, the substrate (flooring), and enrichments like snake hides and branches.
Ongoing Food And Cage Expenses
Once the initial larger cost is complete, the ongoing costs are significantly less.
Between feeding your snake and keep its cage clean and enriched, you’ll spend around $30 each month.
Average Costs Of Veterinary Care
Boa constrictors, just like every pet, need annual exams to ensure their well-being.
For a standard checkup, a vet visit baseline cost will be somewhere between $40 and $100.
Individual tests like examining fecal samples for parasites incur additional costs, so you’re looking somewhere between $100 and $150 for a standard health checkup.
Health Information And Other Requirements
This section covers much of the health and care of a boa constrictor.
Boa constrictors live an average life of 20 to 30 years.
There are snakes which are known to have lived 40 years and even longer!
Owning one of these snakes is a long-term commitment.
Size And Growth
As babies, boa constrictors are an adorable 20″ inches (51 cm) long – just under 2′ feet (.61 m).
However, they will quickly grow into a much larger animal.
Adult males will become 4 to 6′ feet (1.83 m) in 3 to 5 years, and females will become 6 to 7′ feet (2.1 m) within the same timeframe.
Adult boa constrictors can weigh more than 100 pounds!
Expect to see these normal behaviors and cycles in a pet boa constrictor:
- Slow-moving: they only slither up to 1 mile/hour on open ground.
- Nocturnal (active during the night)
- Juveniles may hiss or strike in defense
- Increased agitation and hiding during shedding
- Hiding after eating
Providing your boa constrictor with a clean and enriching environment is necessary, and the best way to give it a good, long life.
Cage Size And Coverage
While young boa constrictors will be happy in a large aquarium tank, they will eventually need a minimum of a 10-square-foot area as they grow into adults.
Minimum enclosure size is 6-to-8′ feet (2.4 m) long, 2-to-3′ feet (.91 m) wide, and 2-to-3′ feet (.91 m) tall.
You must cover the cage, so your boa constrictor doesn’t escape – and boas are very good at escaping, indeed!
The cage covering must allow plenty of fresh air through, and it must be locked to prevent the snake from getting out.
Temperature And Humidity
Boa constrictors are cold-blooded animals and need sources of heat to keep a healthy body temperature.
Heating The Cage
Heating elements like incandescent bulbs, ceramics, or pads are a necessity.
Make sure you shield all heating elements or exposed heat could burn your snake.
It’s crucial to have a cool side and a warm side of the enclosure, so your snake can adjust its body temperature as needed.
Avoid placing your snake’s cage in direct sunlight to control the temperature better.
Check out these OMAYKEY infrared bulbs for an example we love.
- ✔ This 100W black infrared heat lamp is made of solid ceramics element, it has a perfect heat radiation feature and no light emitted. Great for pet, lizard, coop, chicken, turtle, snake, chameleon, bearded dragon, aquarium, with one digital thermometer included. ★ PLEASE NOTE: The digital thermometer is placed in the built-in box of the ceramic lamp. Please open the ceramic lamp box when receiving the package.
- ✔ This ceramic heat lamp is simple and easy to install, just screw it into a standard porcelain E26 or E27 screw socket (ATTENTION: Use only with a porcelain socket, because the plastic socket may melt the lamp holder)
- ✔ This heat lamp bulb is ETL Listed, input voltage is AC 90-120V, power is 100-Watts, full size is diameter 3.15 inch x height 4.13 inch
Humidity should consistently be between 60% and 75%.
Not enough humidity can cause severe health conditions in a snake.
Here is a quick reference table for ideal heat and humidity levels.
Use monitors to control these essential elements for your snake.
This ThermaPro gauge tracks temperature and humidity.
Heat And Humidity Levels For A Boa Constrictor’s Cage
|Time of Day||Temperature (Fahrenheit)||Humidity|
|Daytime||82 to 90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C)||60% to 75%|
|Nighttime||78 to 85° degrees Fahrenheit (29° C)||60% to 75%|
|Basking (all the time)||90 to 100° degrees Fahrenheit (38° C)||n/a|
Give your snake a wide and shallow water bowl.
Boa constrictors won’t drink water too often, but they will soak in water before they shed.
The water dish will also help maintain a healthy humidity level in the tank.
Wash the water dish regularly.
Change out the water for fresh and clean water daily.
Take the time to design the cage to mimic what your boa constrictor might find in the wild.
It will do a lot for your snake’s happiness and well-being.
Snakes need to be able to hide.
Boxes, hollow logs, or tunnels are all excellent options for hides.
They should be only slightly larger than the snake, just enough so the boa can snuggly coil up its entire body inside.
Include at least two hides in the cage, one on each side of the enclosure (warm side and cool side).
Boa constrictors are occasional climbers, but they don’t need a ton of options.
Include a sturdy piece of driftwood or branch in the cage.
Or, lay down a few smooth rocks to create some different levels in the enclosure.
Make sure whatever you include can handle your snake’s weight.
If you bring wood in from outdoors, be sure to sterilize it and rinse and dry it thoroughly before placing it in the snake’s cage.
There are also store-bought perch options.
The bedding in a boa constrictor’s cage should be comfortable and allow them to move freely around while also absorbing fluids.
Paper is a good option for younger snakes.
As snakes get older, carpeting is a great option.
Avoid using wood chips.
They tend to carry mites.
They might also get on the snake’s food, causing internal injuries as it gets digested.
Knowing how and what to feed your pet is one of the most basic parts of ownership.
Here are some details about boa constrictors.
Boa constrictors are carnivores.
Most commonly, owners will feed their snakes mice, chicks, rats, and rabbits.
Hunting And Eating Habits
Boa constrictors will ambush and “constrict” their prey – they cause circulatory arrest, preventing blood from flowing to the brain and killing the animal in seconds.
They will then swallow their freshly killed prey whole. No chewing!
How To Feed A Boa Constrictor
You must be comfortable feeding your snake live animals.
Baby snakes need to eat smaller meals more frequently.
Here are some guidelines:
- Never feed a boa constrictor by hand.
- Avoid prey larger than the snake’s widest body part.
- Remove prey from the cage if the snake isn’t hungry.
Table Of Boa Constrictor Feeding Schedules Based On Age
|Age and Length||Food Amount||Frequency|
|Baby, 1 to 3′ feet (.91 m) long||1 to 2 mice||Every 5 to 7 days|
|Young adult, 3 to 6′ feet (1.8 m) long||1 to 2 rats||Every 7 to 14 days|
|Full-grown adult, 6’+ feet (1.8 m) long||1 to 2 rabbits||Every 10 to 21 days|
A boa constrictor’s lifespan, size, habitat, and diet are essential considerations before diving into pet ownership.
We hope you found this introductory guide for beginner boa constrictor owners and what to expect helpful.