I’ve had a couple of emails recently about caresheets for specific boa species, and both times I’ve been able to direct them to the care sheets on the site here. So… I thought maybe it would be a good idea to list the care sheets that I already have on the site, and get some feedback and see if there are are species you’d like caresheets for…

Boa care sheets already on the site

Boa constrictor care sheet (covering common boa, red tail boa etc.)

Dumerils boa care sheet

Kenyan sand boa care sheet

Brazilian rainbow boa care sheet

Emerald tree boa care sheet

Rosy boa care sheet

Madagascan ground boa care sheet

I’ve already been working on a page for the Madagascan tree boa, but what I want to know is what species would you like to see pages for? Maybe specific locales of boa constrictor? What about the rubber boa? Or perhaps you’re interested in information about anacondas!

Whatever you want to see let me know, leave a comment or drop me and email and I’ll see what I can do!

One of the questions I get asked most often is whether or not a boa is suitable as a “first snake”, and whether a beginner to keeping snakes should choose a boa or not.

The most common answer given when someone asks what is the ideal beginner snake is a colubrid, such as the corn snakes or king snakes.  There is good reason for suggesting something like a corn snake to beginners, they are quite hardy, tolerant to handling, they don’t get too big, they tend to be good feeders, and they are quite beautiful as well as being inexpensive.

Boas on the other hand have a reputation for being large, potentially dangerous, and in come cases difficult for a beginner to handle… and while there are some truths to these statements they are far from being the whole truth, and I want to set the record straight!

One of the reasons I often hear people say that boas are not ideal first snakes is due to their size.  While it’s true that a large adult female boa constrictor may grow to 12 feet in length, this is far from the norm amongst boas.  An averagely sized common boa (boa constrictor imperator) is around 6 – 7 feet in length, and there are a number of dwarf variants which are even smaller.  Also there are other boa species such as the Rosy boa, or the Kenyan sand boa which are no bigger than a corn snake.

While a large red tailed boa might be considered too much for a beginner to handle, one of the smaller species are certainly beginner friendly.  In addition to that, boas tend to be slower moving and less skittish than a corn snake which can actually make them easier for a beginner to handle!

The potential danger from a boa is again related to size.  A small boa is not at all dangerous, while care must be taken with any large snake.  A large boa is a strong and powerful animal, and so care must always be taken when handling one.  Any snake over 6 feet in length should be handled with caution, and with a second person to hand in case you need assistance.

However, the smaller species are no more dangerous than a corn snake.  A small boa such as a rosy boa is not at all dangerous, and while any snake can bite they rarely do and the bite is not dangerous…

So – is a boa a suitable snake for a beginner?

A large boa constrictor – no!  They really are big and powerful, and I would certainly never recommend one for a child.  A strong adult who is prepared to learn the correct way to handle them, has the space and time to care for it properly, and ideally has access to an experienced snake keeper for help could happily and safely keep a boa constrictor as a first snake, but for anyone else it’s not ideal.

But one of the smaller boa species, such as a rosy boa, rubber boa, or sand boa would make an ideal first snake in my opinion.  The key though, as always, is taking the time to properly research the species and what is involved in caring for a snake like this.  Any snake is a big commitment, with a boa quite capable of living for 20+ years, so do your reserach before making a decision!  Read everything you can about the subject, speak with other snake owners, and if possible get some experience handling a boa before you make a final decision!

Further reading: Do boa constrictors make good pets?

Ask any expert about the importance of thermostats for regulating vivarium temperature and you’ll get a unanimous answer – that they are essential. Unfortunately some pet stores, and even specialist reptile strores, sell “start kits” including small vivariums and heat mats which don’t include a thermostat.

There are many, many documented cases of injury and even death to reptiles from heating equipment so this practise is foolish and dangerous. I found a superb forum post today which gives experimental results and proves without doubt just how dangerous it can be to use heat mats without a stat… In the experiment the mat surface reached over 150F (over 65C) which is seriously hot… certainly hot enough to cause injury to many reptiles.

You can read the post, and see photos of the actual thermometer readings here

While most boas won’t be heated by a mat (I recommend ceramic bulbs for most species, but some terrestrial species such as Rosy boas can be heated by mat) and so the snake won’t ever be lying directly on the heat source a thermostat is still absolutely essential to correctly and safely maintain temperatures.

The price of Boa Care Made Easy is going up on Sunday, but until there, only for my email newsletter subscribers I’m offering a huge discount.

Starting tomorrow (July 29th) my newsletter subscribers can purchase Boa Care Made Easy at the reduced rate through a special order link.

If you’re already subscribed to my newsletter you’ll be receiving emails over the next few days letting you how to take advantage, but if not and you don’t want to miss out, make sure you enter your name and email to be added to the list!

First of all apo0logies for the lack of updates on the site in recent weeks.  I got married at the beginning of last months and so the wedding, honeymoon, and then catching up with work have been taking up much of my time!

The good news is I’m back, and working on some new care sheets and other articles for the site.  The first is a Rosy Boa Care Sheet which I’ve just uploaded, and there will be more to follow over the next couple of weeks.

I’m also planning a promotion for my boa care ebook, details to follow shortly.  The promotion will only apply to subscribers to my free newsletter, so if you’ve not done so already make sure you subscribe to be kept informed and take advantage of the special offer (just type your name and email in the form on the right!)

All the best,

Bill

I’m in the process of writing and adding some new caresheets to the site, along with some new articles on vivariums and snake keepingh equipment… check back soon!

Just added today: Madagascan Ground Boa Caresheet

Similar to the Dumerils Boa, though larger and with a higher humidity requirement, these are also CITES listed but amazing snakes, and they make great pets if you can find them!

Other news… if you’re a Leopard Gecko keeper you might want to keep an eye on this blog for an exciting announcement coming soon!  Also, I have a free report on boas which is currently in the works, and I’m expecting to release it next week.  Not only will it be packed with useful information for boa keepers (and other snake enthusiasts!) and be completely free, I’m also giving away distribution rights with rebranding, which means if you have a website related to boas or snakes you can add the report your own site, or send it to your email subscribers, and it will be brended with your own name and links!

I’ll be sending it out to my newsletter subscribers first so enter your name and email at the top of this page to be the first to get a copy!

There are a number of different vivarium designs suitable for keeping boas, and your choice will be based on a number of factors. Firstly, style of enclosure you choose will depend on the species of boa you’re keeping, the age of your snake, and whether they are arboreal or terrestrial. Other factors include your budget, the space you have available, ease of cleaning, and what heat source you intend to use.

I discuss different styles of vivaria and other enclosures on the housing boas page of this site, but I recently discovered that some of my information was a little out of date. Becci, from JnB Boas, told me that there are in fact now companies who can supply moulded plastic vivaria to custom sizes!

The company she recommended is called Rhino Vivs, based in the UK. They don’t appear to offer prices on their website, but a quick search on Google turned up other companies offering a similar service.

The advantages are obvious – you get to fit your boa’s vivarium perfectly into any space you want to fill, and still get the advantages of a very secure and easy to clean plastic vivarium! I’ve not tried these myself, but will certainly be considering it the next time I’m in the market for a custom sized enclosure for one of my snakes…

Keeping boas is a highly rewarding hobby, and even after 25 years of snake keeping there is always more to learn! I’ve learned loads from meeting with other keepers and breeders, from reptile shows, and in recent years from the Internet, but without doubt the bulk of my knowledge has come from books. There are loads of boa books, and more general snake books available, but while some are superb, others are barely worth the paper they are printed on! Here are a few of my favorites to get you started…

Before I discuss books however, I would like to point out that whether you’re just getting started and considering your first snake, or if you’re an experienced snake keeper looking to further your knowledge, you’ll be sure to find lots of great information in my free mini-course. Just fill out your name and email at the top of the page and I’ll send you part one right away!

Boa constrictor books

Boa Care Made Easy – Billy Deakin

Well, it makes sense for my to list my own book first! Of course I’m probably a little biased, since I put so much of my time and effort over many months to write it, but I honestly believe it to be one of the best books out there. It is the book I wished I had when I first started keeping snakes all those years ago, and it certainly would have prevented some of the early mistakes I made. It covers every aspect of keeping boas from choosing the right species for you, housing, feeding, breeding, medical care and more… I thoroughly receommend it (but then I would say that!) and I back my claims up with a full money back guarantee! For a full explaination of what is covered in the book visit the boa care made easy page.

Available from: Boa-care.com

Price: $14.99

Click here to purchase Boa Care Made Easy

Boas and Pythons Breeding and Care - Erik Stoops

This is probably my favorite boa constrictor book (after my own of couse!) and is perfect for the intermediate to expert keeper. Stoops gives some great introductory and background information, but also specific technical information such as drug dosages. I wouldn’t be without this one in my library!

Available from: Amazon

Price: $31.00

Click here to purchase The Living Boas

The Living Boas - Jerry Walls

This is part of a 2 book series, the other titled The Living Pythons. Another great book packed with information and photos. There husbandry section is a little small and slightly out dated now, but still good, and there is lots of good species descriptions and general boa information. Anyone with an interest in boas or pythons really ought to have both of these on their bookshelf!

Available from: Amazon

Price: $18.99

Click here to purchase Boas and Pythons Breeding and Care

If you’ve spent any time looking at information on boas, snake keeping, or reptiles in general on the Internet you will probably have come across this rather odd convention. Most common on forum signatures you’ll often see something like this:

Common Boa Constrictor 1.1.0
Hog Island Boa 0.1.0
Brazilian Rainbow Boa 0.0.2
Rosy boa 1.1.0

The first time I saw this I was quite confused, so if you’ve felt the same way you’re not alone. Once I discovered the meaning of this common notation though it all made sense! The numbers refer to the male, female, and unsexed or juvenile snakes a keeper owns.

So in the example above, the signature is saying that the person has one male and one female common boa, a single female Hog Island boa, 2 rainbow bows of unknown gender, and a male and female rosy boa!

Hope that sheds some light on these common but confusing numbers!

Well, I’ve been working away at the site over the last couple of weeks adding new content and improving the structure.  I’m slowly increasing the list of caresheets and different boa species that are covered, and also added a page of boa constrictor facts this morning.

The free mini-course is going really well and I’m getting some good feedback already so if you’ve not added your email to the list yet you can do so at the top of this page.  The course is emailed out over 7 mini-lessons and is packed with information about boa care, choosing the right pet snake, how best to house your boa, what to feed it, what to do if you have health issues and loads more!

My new book, Boa Care Made Easy, is also finished.  It’s now being edited ready for publication and the links to it should go live in the next couple of days.  I’m really excited that finally, after all this time, it’s about to be released and I really hope that you find it useful and enjoyable.

I will post here once the book is available to purchase so check back soon!

Billy

« Previous Entries

Boa-Care © 2009 Boa-Care.com | Privacy