How Painful Is A Boa Constrictor Bite?

Are you considering buying a boa constrictor but are wondering if there are any dangers?

Have you seen videos of snakes biting people and are afraid this may happen to you?

If you are concerned about the possibility of being bitten by a boa constrictor, one of your first questions might be:

How painful is a boa constrictor bite?

Bites will happen to even the most experienced snake handlers, and boa constrictors are no different. While the bites are sometimes unpleasant, the severity is determined by the boa’s age and whether you keep calm when it happens.

Keep reading as we dive even further into what it feels like to be bitten by a boa constrictor.

how painful is a boa constrictor bite

How Painful Is A Boa Constrictor Bite?

Biting is often how boa constrictors, and other snakes, react when they feel threatened or unhappy.  

These bites happen to many owners, even those with a vast amount of experience.

When a younger boa constrictor bites their owners, which is more common as younger boas are nippier, the bite has been described as an angry toothbrush.

The bites are quick and very tiny. 

You might hardly even notice it. 

But as the boa grows, the bites get more painful as the animal gets larger and stronger.

Bites from fully grown adults are not only painful, they may be dangerous in some cases.

Boas have small but very sharp teeth in their mouth, and the teeth curve toward the back of the mouth.

If you attempt to get the boa away by yanking, you risk ripping your skin if you don’t unlatch their teeth first. 

How To Treat A Boa Constrictor Bite

Being bitten happens to almost every snake owner at some point. 

You need to know what to do and how to treat a bite.

Even though these animals don’t have a venomous bite, they can still do some damage.

With their sharp and curved teeth, the bite will leave a mark, but the worst damage comes from the bacteria in their mouth and then left behind in the bite.

Usually, the snake will release its grip on you, and waiting for this is the most effective way to minimize the damage from the bite. 

End on a positive note, even though this might be hard. 

You don’t want to have the snake associating biting with getting what they want: to be put down. 

This will lead them to more biting.

Treating The Bite

Once you have removed the animal and placed it safely and gently back in their enclosure, it is time to treat the bite.

First and foremost, wash the bite with soap and warm water to clean the wound. 

Snakes carry plenty of bacteria in their mouth, including salmonella and if you don’t wash the bite thoroughly, you risk getting an infection.

Look for any teeth the snake may have left behind when they bit you. 

Remove any teeth lodged in your skin with a pair of tweezers. 

Apply an over the counter antibiotic to the wound and cover it with clean bandaging. 

If the bite is severe, located in a serious place, or will not stop bleeding, you should seek professional medical help.

They will be able to provide you with antibiotics and may give you stitches as needed.

Watch your bite to make sure it is healing correctly, but you might also need to consult your doctor if it isn’t healing.

Even minor bites may get infected, so keep the area clean and watch for indications of infections.

Swelling, reddening of the skin, and oozing are all signs the bite has become infected. 

With proper care, minor bites will heal within a few days, while more severe wounds will take a bit more time. 

How To Reduce The Risk Of Being Bitten?

Boa constrictors will bite more often than not because they feel threatened or they want whatever is happening to them to stop. 

They might think of you as a predator, and when you lift them, the snake often sees this as a predator attacking them.

To reduce the risk of being bitten, it is best to tame your boa and get them used to regular handling. 

This requires time and patience, but the rewards of handling your boa regularly without incident will be worth it.

Handling sessions should begin slowly, so the animal gets used to your handling.

At first, conduct five-minute handling sessions every few days. 

As the snake gets used to this, increase the length of time, and move up to daily sessions.

Handle the animal gently, and don’t restrain it.

Instead, let the snake use your body like it would a tree, wrapping around you, so it doesn’t fall. 

Stay relaxed and allow the snake to travel as it pleases, but if you find the boa going somewhere, you don’t want it to, use your hand and gently guide the head in a different direction.

There are some occasions where you should avoid handling your boa constrictor. 

If you do, the chances of the animal biting will increase.

Do not handle the snake when it is about to shed. 

During this time, their eyes are opaque, and they lose much of their sense of sight.

They are not able to see what is going on, and it is scary for them.

Also, avoid handling your snake on feeding day or if the animal has eaten in the last 48 hours.

If you handle them after a feeding, you will increase the chances of the boa regurgitating their meal.

This is very uncomfortable and often harmful to the snake.

Related: How to handle a boa constrictor


After reading this, we hope you have a better idea about how painful boa constrictor bites are and what to do when it happens. 

It is rare for boa constrictors to attack their owners, but bites do happen.

There is some pain when bitten.

The fear of being bitten shouldn’t stop you from bringing a boa constrictor into your home if you are interested. 

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