Are you a new boa constrictor owner?
Do you want to make sure you’ve got the temperature right for your pet?
If you own a boa constrictor, you probably know they require a heat source and specific temperature requirements.
Your concern about your boa constrictor’s health and wellbeing may have you wondering: what temperature will kill a boa constrictor?
For a boa constrictor, temperatures below 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C) or above 90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C) can put it at risk for death or severe illness.
It’s vital to understand the temperature needs of your boa constrictor if you want to ensure optimal health and survival.
Read on if you want to learn more about how to keep your boa constrictor in the best habitat for its needs.
Why Do Boa Constrictors Need Heat?
Most snakes require some heat source because they are cold-blooded reptiles, meaning they have difficulty self-regulating their temperature and need help from external sources,
An example of this is basking in the sun when they’re too cold.
While warm-blooded animals can use techniques like sweating, panting, or shivering to change their body temperatures, cold-blooded creatures need to move around to find a location which provides the temperature they desire.
This is why snakes need a heating source in their enclosure.
However, we don’t want the entire enclosure to have the same temperature.
Instead, it’s essential to make sure your cage has a “cold” side and a “hot” side, so your snake can migrate depending on its needs.
Another reason boa constrictors, in particular, require heat is because they are naturally found in the tropical regions of South America and the Caribbean.
Their natural environment means their bodies have evolved to require heat and humidity for survival.
Since your boa constrictor is under your care rather than outside, you need to provide the artificial environment required for it to thrive.
What Are The Temperature Requirements For A Boa Constrictor?
There are three different temperature environments you need to consider for your boa constrictor:
- The ambient temperature of the enclosure
- The temperature of the basking area
- Temperature of the cooler zone
All three sections need to stay within a recommended range, which are:
- Ambient temperature: 80-85° degrees Fahrenheit (27-29° C)
- Basking area: 90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C)
- Cool zone: 75-80° degrees Fhrenheit (24-27° C)
In other words, you need to provide an environment which will allow your boa constrictor to seek out temperatures ranging from as low as 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C) to as high as 90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C).
How Can I Create A Temperature Gradient In The Enclosure?
The easiest way to create a temperature gradient is by placing a heat source on one side of the enclosure, considered the basking zone.
The area close to it, which isn’t directly underneath, will also be warm.
There will be a gradual decrease in temperature through to the other side of the enclosure.
Be careful if you decide to use a heat lamp because these can sometimes get too hot and cause burns on your boa’s skin.
It’s best to use heat lamps with ceramic sockets.
You may also use a deep heat projector, which also emits heat without light (you’ll need a separate light source if you use this).
Placing some tile directly underneath, it creates a perfect basking spot for your boa to lay.
If neither of these works, a radiant heat panel will also work.
This is the most expensive option, so it’s usually left as a last resort if the other two options don’t work.
Heating pads or other sources, which heat from below, are not recommended as they don’t warm the surrounding air and don’t mimic how the sun works outside.
To make sure you know what temperature your enclosure is, purchase a digital thermometer and place it inside the enclosure.
You should also keep track of the temperature of your basking site using an infrared temperature gun.
How Much Cold Can A Boa Constrictor Withstand?
Boa constrictors usually tolerate a drop in temperatures at night.
This drop in temperature is considered better for your boa’s health.
In an artificially constructed environment, you should aim to maintain a nightly temperature of around 75° degrees Fahrenheit (23° C).
While there is a bit of leeway, you should not let temperatures drop below 72° degrees Fahrenheit (22° C).
Though there are cases of boa constrictors found out in the wild at very low temperatures, this is not recommended when you control the temperature.
Snakes can tolerate significant fluctuations in temperature, but this is only when the environment treats them so poorly they must adapt.
How Bad Are Colder Temperatures For A Boa Constrictor?
While snakes can withstand wide temperature variations, they generally start to experience adverse side effects when temperatures drop below 70° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C).
There are a few signs to look out for, which may indicate your boa is getting too cold.
First, your snake will remain on the basking side for more extended periods than usual, meaning it’s struggling to increase its temperature.
The next concerning sign is if your snake begins to vomit up its food.
Boas need to be warm for their digestive systems to function correctly.
This leads directly into another sign:
Your boa will stop eating entirely and become lethargic.
This is an effort to conserve energy when it knows it will be unable to digest food.
It’ll also be at a higher risk of developing infections due to a lowered immune system response and can die in a worst-case scenario.
Of course, this is an entirely different situation if you suspect your boa is going into brumation, an entirely separate topic.
It’s key for owners to know what temperatures may kill a boa constrictor to avoid it at all costs.
Although boa constrictors can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, there are some general recommendations to guide you on creating the best environment for your pet.
If you make sure you’re following the guidelines we talked about in this article, you will ensure your pet is comfortable and well!
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