Brazilian Boa

Brazilian Rainbow Boa
Epicrates cenchria cenchria

Other species covered by this caresheet: (Brazilian Boa, Marajo Rainbow Boa, Espirito Santo Rainbow Boa…)

Family: Boidae
Subfamily: Boinae

The Brazilian Rainbow Boa is an extremely popular snake and with good reason.  Rainbow boas in general are typically small boas (3.5 – 7 feet in length as adults) with richly coloured markings which shimmer and give variable rainbow like highlights, hence the common name.  The Brazilian boa is the favorite amongst keepers due to its particularly attractive coloration, and relative ease of husbandry.  While the Brazilian boa has a bit of a reputation for being short tempered, that can be said of all rainbow boas, but many specimens can be carefully free handled, and they are certainly easier to handle and less agressive than the Emerald Boas.

Growth and longevity

Adult Brazilian Rainbow Boas (often shortened to BRB) can reach 7 feet in length, but 5 – 6 feet is more typica.  They are a much more slender snake than the Boa Constrictors, and have been known to live more than 20 years in captivity.


Mice or rats of a suitable size should be offered every 10 – 14 days for adults.  Neonates will require feeding weekly, and will normally start on fuzzy mice.  The Brazilian Boa is prone to obesity if overfed.


As a relatively small boa, an adult can be kept in a vivarium measuring 4x4x2 feet.  They are mostly terrestrial although, like most boas, some specimens will climb if given the opportunity so a sturdy branch which can’t be dislodged should be provided.  A thermal gradient should be provided, with a daytime high of around 88 – 90 F and dropping to around 70 – 75 F at night.  Heat should be provided by a thermostatically controlled ceramic heater, properly guarded to prevent possible burns.

Brazilian boas, like all rainbow boas, are prone to dehydration so humidity is very important.  Daily misting to bring the relative humidity to a high of around 75 – 80 is essential to keep these snakes healthy.  A damp hide filled with sphagnum moss, and a deep bowl of clean water should also be provided at all times.

Handling your Brazilian Rainbow Boa

Brazilian boas are not always the friendliest of snakes!  For that reason, and their relatively strict maintenance requirements, they are often thought of as an “intermediate to expert” snake and not suitable for beginners.  However, many keepers report that they are able to free handle their brazilian boas without problem, and there is no doudt that they are an exceptionally beautiful snake.  Start slowly and handle only for short periods to begin with.  It is recommended that you use a snake hook when taking the snake out of the vivarium, but once out you may be able to gently free handle without problems.

Breeding, and health issues.

The Brazilian Boa can be bred in captivity, and captive bred specimens are readily availble.  Breeding and health issues are beyond the scope of this caresheet.  Please check the other sections of this web site.

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