Brazilian Rainbow Boa
Rainbow Boa’s, like other Boas are live bearing snakes meaning that they do not produce eggs. Instead, mothers produce egg sacks inside and babies are born from these after being incubated inside the mother.
Because Rainbow Boas are from South America, they require a very humid environment. Babies require almost 90% humidity whilst adults are happy with around 75-80%. This can be achieved using moss hides along with a forest substrate which retains humidity.
There are more than 40 species of Boa known across the world. Brazilian Rainbow Boas are known for the striking iridescence on their scales when the light hits them.
HOUSING YOUR SNAKE
There are a number of wooden, plastic and glass enclosure available for rainbow boas. Always purchase an enclosure which is a suitable size for your animal. Plastic or wooden and part glass enclosures are the best as glass alone can make it hard to control temperature. Always try to use a thermostat with your enclosure to enable the snake to gain suitable hot and cold temperatures.
Whilst your snake is still small, there are hatchling tubs available or some people choose to use Really Useful Boxes which are also available as custom kits. Heating should be provided via a heat lamp if using a vivarium, or a heat mat if choosing a terrarium or RUB. UVB light is not required, but natural lighting can be provided by a tube or LED light. Forest substrate is best as it retains some humidity which is useful for shedding purposes, but Lignocel, Aspen and other substrates are also suitable- additional moss boxes can be added. Provide a large water bowl which should be replaced with fresh water daily.
HANDLING YOUR SNAKE:
When handling your rainbow boa it is important to use an antibacterial hand wash before and after touching your animal. This ensure that no parasites or bacteria is passed between you and your snake. When handling always use a hook to gently stroke the snakes head to let it know you are going to touch it- we call this tap-training. Over time, the snake is able to distinguish between feeding and handling times by not expecting food once it has been stroked gently on the nose. This should be continued throughout the snakes life.
Gently pick the snake up by scooping around 2/3 of the way down the snakes body. Don’t restrict the snake and try not to hold the first 3rd of the snake where the vital organs are, this can cause discomfort to your snake. Always leave 48 hours or more after feeding your snake before handling to prevent bites and discomfort to your animal which can cause regurgitation. We advise not to handle your snake 48 hours before feeding- especially for fussy feeders.
Genus, Species Epicrates cenchria
Adult Size 5-6.5
Lifespan 20-25+ Years
Diet Mice, rats once a week
Ambient Temp (f) 75-82
Basking Temp (f) 88-90
Humidity (%) 80-90
Locality South America Difficulty 2
Breeding Age Female: 2-3 Years, Male: 12- 18 Months
Social Structure Live alone except breeding times
- Dust free substrate
- A water bowl large enough for your snake to submerse in
- Hides or décor on hot and cold sides
- A thermometer to check the temperatures
- Ideally a thermostat
- Feeding tongs: steel ones are a good idea
- A pet care book / care sheet
- Heat bulb/ceramic/heat mat
- A reptile safe disinfectant for cleaning
- A Rat or Mouse for feeding your snake
SEXING YOUR SNAKE:
Male and female snakes may differ between sizes and length of tail, but to get an accurate gender there are 2 methods.
1- probe your snake by sliding the probe under the vent towards the tail. If the probe goes in a small amount then the snake is female, if the snake is male the probe will slide further, this is where the hemipenes are located.
2- ‘pop’ the snake by holding the snakes tail in one hand and gently rolling towards the vent with the other exposing the genitals. Snakes can be badly damaged during sexing and should only be sexed by a professional.
It is important to regularly check the health of your rainbow boa and there are a few common diseases and disorders to look out for.
Eyes– check the eyes are clear of infection, discharge or stuck eye caps (these can occur from a dry shed, increase the humidity or place snake on soak periodically until eye caps come off) you can provide a moss hide for your snake close to shedding time or soak the snake for 20 minutes at a time until the shed comes off.
Skin– check the skin for black spots or raised scales which can be a sign of mites. Mites can usually be seen around the eye socket and under the chin. Mites can be treated using a number of chemical products or for a natural cure, Taurrus predatory mites can be used regularly for prevention and treatment.
Respiratory Infections– RI is a term for a broad spectrum of infections in the lungs and respiratory system. It is generally caused by ill health along with damp or cold conditions and can be treated with a nebuliser. We always recommend seeing the vet if you suspect RI, however it is extremely rare and is not usually the actual cause of the symptoms that are seen.