If you have been to a zoo, you’ve likely seen a boa constrictor.
Remember the snake at the zoo who talks to Harry Potter in the first book installment of the series? That would be a boa.
Ever wonder to yourself just how old these giant snakes can get while they are held in captivity?
Do they live longer if they are in the wild? Just how long does a boa constrictor live?
The life expectancy of a healthy boa constrictor can range from 20 to 40 years. Captivity does play a part in the number of years they might survive and other factors contributing to their general health.
Let’s learn some facts about these big-bodied beauties, their preferred habitats in captivity and the wild, and how they affect their life span.
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How Long Can A Boa Constrictor Live In Captivity?
Boa constrictors are widely bred in captivity and are a popular choice with private reptile collectors.
When provided with adequate habitat conditions, boas in captivity generally outlive those in the wild.
The average captive lifespan of these snakes ranges from 25-35 years, while some have been known to live up to 40 years.
Owners of a boa constrictor need to be in it for the long run.
To keep captive boas healthy, there are many things to remember in regards to their habitat.
If you are a snake enthusiast and are thinking of keeping a boa constrictor as a pet, read on for crucial need-to-know info.
Necessities For Captive Boa Constrictor Habitats
When born, baby boas are around 20″ inches long, but adults can range between 3′ to 13′ feet in length as they grow.
Having adequate space is extremely important for a boa constrictor’s health and development.
Glass aquariums are adequate for young snakes, but they will need to upgrade to a larger enclosure as they grow.
Many private keepers of boas have enclosures built in their homes to accommodate the size of an adult snake of this species.
Enclosures for one adult boa should be no less than 10 square feet of floor space, but more might be required depending on its size.
Young boa constrictors are considered semi-arboreal snakes, meaning they like to climb trees and spend time on the ground.
Even adults enjoy a good climb occasionally, but they tend to stick mostly to the ground when they get older due to their size and weight.
At least one tree branch should be included in a captive boa’s habitat.
Make sure the branch is sturdy enough to accommodate the snake’s size and weight.
It should have a spot around halfway up for the snake to rest on and a few forks here and there.
If you are using a tree branch you collected from the outdoors yourself; you should sterilize it by soaking it in a bleach solution and letting it dry completely before you place it in an enclosure.
Pet supply stores should also offer different types of driftwood if you prefer to purchase something instead of sourcing naturally.
The proper substrate for a young boa constrictor is as simple as paper or a paper towel, while paper or reptile carpet is the best choice for adults.
Wood shavings should not be used due to the possibility of ingestion and irritation to the skin.
Boa constrictors will feel best when they have at least a couple of different options for hides.
In the wild, they are often found inside mammal-made burrows.
There are several different options for hides in a captive habitat.
Halved and hollowed logs are an excellent hide and are similar to something the snake would have used in the wild.
Cardboard boxes are another option.
Your local pet store likely has some commercially manufactured options as well.
Make sure you have hides big enough for the snake to fit into, but not too big.
They need to feel secure and enjoy a tight fit.
Temperature and Humidity
Adequate temperature and humidity levels are of vital importance in the health of a boa constrictor.
Boas are used to daytime temps of between 82° to 90° degrees Fahrenheit (28° – 32° C) and nighttime temps between 78° to 85° degrees Fahrenheit (24° – 29° C).
They also should be given a place to bask with a temperature of 90° to 95° degrees Fahrenheit (32° – 35° C).
Humidity levels of 60% to 70% should be maintained in a boa’s enclosure.
Keep a bowl of water available, which will help keep the humidity level and be enjoyed by the snake as a bath or a place to defecate.
Make sure you check the water regularly and keep it fresh. Another way to keep up the humidity level is to mist the area.
Food In Captivity
The healthy diet of a boa constrictor living in captivity should include the following:
Frequency of Feedings
- Young boas eat more frequently than adults.
- When babies, they should be fed every 5 to 7 days.
- Intermediate aged boas should be fed every 10 to 14 days.
- Adult snakes will eat every 3 to 4 weeks.
What To Feed
- A good rule of thumb to follow is a snake should never be fed an animal wider than the broadest part of its own body.
- Baby boas can usually eat a mouse.
- Adults can handle a few larger rats, chicks, or a rabbit per feeding.
How Long Does A Boa Constrictor Live In The Wild?
While boa constrictors tend to live shorter lives in the wild than they do in captivity, they still have a reasonably long life span.
In their natural habitats, boas live an average of 20 years, and possibly as long as 30 years.
Why Are Boas Life Spans Shorter In The Wild?
Their shorter life span in the wild is due to a few factors.
Predators – Eagles have been known to prey on juvenile boas.
Other predators of boas include a member of the big-cat family, the jaguar, and crocodiles.
While in captivity, the threat of natural predators is removed, which aids in prolonging their life span.
Humans – Some indigenous populations of humans eat the skin of boa constrictors.
The more prevalent and sad human threat is the hunting of boas for the beautiful markings on their skins.
Hunted boas are often killed and used in the snakeskin trade.
To sum up, how long do boa constrictors live?
Many factors can affect a boa’s life span.
Most boa constrictors have life spans ranging from 20 to 30 years in the wild, and 25 to 40 years in captivity.
If you care for a boa in captivity, there are many things to do to help your boa enjoy a long, healthy life.