Distribution & Habitat
A member of the subfamily Boinae, the Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor), occurs in several subspecies ranging from Mexico to southern South America and a few southern West Indian Islands. It occurs in a wide range of habitats throughout its range.
Most pet shops carry common boa constrictors (Boa constrictor imperator); although red-tail boa constrictors (Boa constrictor constrictor), rainbow boas (Epicrates cenchria) and rosy boas (Lichanura trivirgata) are sometimes offered.
The Boa Constrictor is quite a spectacular snake of about 10 to 13 feet long. It has a robust looking body, a broad triangular head, and a fairly narrow neck. There is great variation in color and pattern, but usually, Boa constrictors are buffy cream, boldly marked with dark brown blotches that become distinctly more reddish toward the tail.
Adult male boas are very territorial and may actively fight with other males. Its slow pace, docile nature, relative ease of maintenance make it an excellent pet.
Boa Constrictors require a large, humid, rain forest type terrarium with strong branches for climbing and a large, preferably heated, water bath. Air temperature should be maintained around 82°F, reduced to about 68°F at night. For the sub-tropical individuals, a winter period of semi-hibernation, 4 – 6 weeks at 59 – 65°F, will stimulate reproduction. These snakes usually feed on mice and chicks (juvenile), rats, small rabbits, guinea pigs, or chickens.
Known Health Risks
Health considerations are one of the many reasons why you should buy captive-bred boa. Additionally, low humidity levels can lead to shedding problems (dysecdysis) and retained spectacles. Wild-collected boas are prone to tick and mite infestations and internal parasites. All boas are susceptible to IBD, an infectious disease causing respiratory, digestive and neurologic problems.
The boa constrictor produces its young live (livebearer). There can be from 2 to 70 young per clutch. Can live for 20+ years. Common Boa subspecies make fine breeding stock. The female, while being kept at 82 to 85 degrees before actual copulation begins will gestate for a period og about 150 to 250 days before giving birth to a litter of anywhere for 8 to 160 young. These newborns should be fed pre-killed mice, and care should be taken not to place them in tanks with too many wood shavings.