Everything Needed In Boa Constrictor Tanks

Have you always wanted to own a boa constrictor?

Are you interested in learning more about what it takes to care for a boa successfully?

If you are thinking about adding a boa constrictor to your home, one important detail you will need to consider is around how you house the animal.

This might lead you to ask:

What do I need in a tank for a boa constrictor?

Once you have decided on the right size tank, you will need to make sure it has a substrate, appropriately sized hide boxes, a climbing object, and a water dish. You will also want to look into lighting, as well as timers and thermometers and hydrometers, to make sure you are keeping things just right inside their enclosure.

For more information on what you need to house your boa correctly, keep reading this article.

what do i need in a tank for a boa constrictor

What Do I Need In A Tank For A Boa Constrictor?

The tank for a boa constrictor needs to be set up just right to give your snake the best chance for a good, long life.

When you think about your boa’s habitat, you automatically understand you need a tank, but what do you need to go in the tank?

There are certain things you will need to make sure it is equipped with to keep your boa at its best.


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A substrate is just a fancy word for bedding and is used to cover the bottom of the tank or enclosure.

There are many options to look at, including reptile carpet, paper towels, aspen shavings, Cyprus mulch, and specialty reptile soil.

Each one has pros and cons.

Some are easy when it comes to clean up, and others look more attractive and do better at mimicking the animal’s natural habitat.

Feel free to go as fancy or as low-end practical as you want.

You will need to cover the bottom with approximately 2″ to 3″ inches of substrate, so make sure you have enough.

Hide Boxes

Pangea Reptile Hide Box (F- X-Large)
  • Perfect for terrestrial reptiles: This hide box is the perfect addition to your terrestrial reptile’s enclosure! It is ideal for snakes and terrestrial geckos! Door placement is offset to really give your pet a sense of security which aids in reducing stress in captive reptiles.
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Hides are an essential part of the set up for your boa constrictor.

These hides provide safe shelter for your snake to escape to when they are feeling scared or stressed.

We recommend having at least two in the tank, but the more, the better.

Commercially made hides are available, but other options include PVC pipe partially buried in the substrate, hollow logs, cardboard boxes, or a plastic storage tub with a hole cut for an entrance.

Ensure the hide is large enough for the snake to fit, but you want it to be a snug fit.

A tight fit goes a long way to making the snake feel safe and secure.

Climbing Opportunities

Boas are semi-arboreal creatures, meaning they spend some time climbing as well as being on the ground.

Young boas especially enjoy climbing anything they can climb.

Adults are less prone to climbing, but they will still climb some when given the opportunity.

Realize as the snake gets larger, the branches or other objects placed for climbing will need to be stronger to hold their weight.

These items are available for purchase at pet stores or online, but you might also find appropriate branches in nature near your home.

Just make sure the wood is not pine, fir, or cedar due to the natural oils they produce.

Water Dish

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A water dish should be placed in the tank of your boa.

The dish will need to be low to the ground and large enough to fit most of your snake’s body.

Snakes will use the water dish for drinking and soak in when they want to cool down, and it will help them moisturize their body.

A heavy water dish is needed, so the snake does not tip it over as they crawl in and out.

Be sure it is not too deep, or your boa could drown in the water.

This is much more common in young snakes, but it is still possible for a fully grown adult boa.

Lighting And Heating

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Boas need a temperature gradient and are particular to a day and night schedule.

A boa does not need special UV lighting, but heat bulbs will help maintain a warm basking area and the much-required temperature gradient.

We don’t recommend using hot rocks or other direct contact heat sources, as this could cause burns to your boa.

The tank’s temperature is so important as these cold-blooded animals depend on external temperatures to regulate their body and perform certain functions, like eating.

Gauges And Timers

Zoo Med ReptiTemp RT-600 Digital Thermostat Controller, Black
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Since we talked about heating and lighting elements, we need to touch on some of the items most snake owners use to make life easier.

Temperature and humidity gauges placed in the tank will serve as a lifesaver, quite literally.

With these items, you will quickly gain a wealth of knowledge about what is going on in the tank and what might need to be altered.

A timer on the light ensures the boa gets the day and night cycle they need and helps you out if you are out or busy in another room.

These items in the tank will help you keep things just right.

How Big Of A Tank Do I Need For A Boa Constrictor?

After discussing what you need to go in a tank for your boa, you might be wondering what size tank you will need.

This is highly dependent on the size of your boa constrictor.

When you have a younger boa, they can live in a smaller enclosure, but will quickly outgrow it, as these snakes do grow rapidly in their first few years of life.

It isn’t a bad idea to buy an enclosure they will grow into, but you will have to alter the set up a little and provide lots of hides.

If you opt for a tank fit for a full-size boa but are only housing a baby boa, make sure to set it up correctly, or your snake will suffer from stress.

It will also be harder for you to find it and check to make sure it is going to the bathroom regularly.

If the boa is less than 2′ feet, a tank measuring about 2′ feet long by 1.5′ feet wide at minimum is a good size.

As the boa grows into a juvenile, and measures about 4′ feet long by 2′ feet wide.

This size will work best for boas, which are between 2′ feet and 5′ feet.

As they reach adulthood, a larger tank will be necessary.

For an adult boa measuring 6′ to 8′ feet, a 6′ foot by 4′ foot tank will give the snake a good amount of room to move.

If your boa gets larger than 8′ feet, you should look into getting a larger tank.

These snakes need some room to move, and a bigger tank will give them the space they need.

Besides giving them room to move, a larger tank will ensure you can provide a temperature gradient.

An appropriate temperature gradient is so vital for your boa, so they can regulate their body temperature and perform everyday bodily functions.

As you need a larger enclosure, you will need to be prepared to either spend a fair amount of money, or you may look into building your own enclosure to meet your snake’s needs.

Types Of Tanks

There are several types of tanks out there on the market for you to look into before purchasing.

You might feel a little overwhelmed by the options.

These tanks are typically broken down into a few categories.

Glass tanks are an option widely available for purchase.

Glass tanks are great for creating a temperature gradient for your snake and dissipating heat.

They do come with a hefty price tag, especially as you look at larger sizes, and they do end up being very heavy.

Another option is a tank made of plastic or PVC.

This option is a durable one, and they are known for efficiently holding heat and humidity.

Like the glass option, they do get expensive the larger you get.

Some enclosures are made primarily of wood.

As you get into the larger sizes, many snake owners will build their own enclosures, primarily using wood and or melamine. 

Wooden vivariums are also available for purchase if you aren’t keen on making your own. 

If you are building your own, be sure you avoid woods like pine, fir, or cedar because they contain natural oils harmful to snakes.


The set up for housing your boa might seem a little overwhelming with so many options, but once you have a good handle on what you need, everything should fall into place.

Understanding what you need to house a boa properly is something you should thoroughly research before deciding if you want to purchase one of these snakes.

It is important to have everything set up just right to guarantee your boa stays healthy and happy in their home.

If you are up for it, these docile snakes will make a great pet, and with attention, their habitats will look great in your home.

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