They sometimes survive near villages, where they may enter homes and buildings. [17] Like all snakes, boa constrictors in a shed cycle are more unpredictable, because the substance that lubricates between the old skin and the new makes their eyes appear milky, blue, or opaque so that the snake cannot see very well, causing it to be more defensive than it might otherwise be. The average lifespan for a Colombian red tail boa is 20 to 30 years in captivity. All snake enclosures should have locks or latches to prevent an escape, which can be dangerous to both the snake and the people living in the house. A female Colombian red tail boa can grow to be between 7 and 10 feet long. [1], B. constrictor flourishes in a wide variety of environmental conditions, from tropical rainforests to arid semidesert country. The reason red tail boas are so popular is due in part to their typically docile temperament. Learn how to create a happy, healthy home for your pet. Colombian red tail boas aren’t just big. Once its prey has suffocated, the boa constrictor consumes it whole. You can go a bit larger with adult snakes if needed. [27] When the female ovulates, a midbody swell can be noticed that appears similar to the snake having eaten a large meal. An enclosure that provides 8 to 10 feet of floor space, is a couple of feet high and a couple of feet wide is plenty big for an adult red tailed boa. Technically speaking, the Colombian red tail is not its own species. [31] Proper animal husbandry is the most significant factor in captive lifespan; this includes providing adequate space, correct temperatures and humidity, and suitable food items. [3] This article focuses on the species Boa constrictor as a whole, and on the nominate subspecies B. c. constrictor. The largest boa constrictor ever recorded was over 18 feet! Snakes that receive lackluster care can suffer from disease and premature death. The feeding tank should be covered with a towel while feeding to provide a sense of security to your snake, or you can place your snake's hide box in the feeding tank while feeding. Never let the basking area get hotter than 95 degrees. In the wild, these snakes are ambush predators. The average lifespan for a Colombian red tail boa is 20 to 30 years in captivity. [34], Boa constrictors may be an invasive species in Florida. [26], During the breeding season, the female boa emits pheromones from her cloaca to attract males, which may then wrestle to select one to breed with her. Empower Her. It’s easy to clean and is perfectly safe for the snake. Though they love warm, humid weather, boas are nocturnal and spend the hot days lazing about under logs or cooling off in rivers, and the cooler nights hunting prey. Colombian red tail boa care can be a bit of a challenge due to their size. IBD is marked by poor appetite and excessive saliva, and in serious or more advanced cases, IBD causes snakes to lose control of their bodily movements. These snakes do best when kept in separate habitats. Start with an absorbent substrate material. Juvenile red tail boas will eat fuzzies, then mice, then rats, and once they reach adulthood, they will be eating rabbits and large rats. Prey items should be killed prior to feeding them to your snake and offered in an enclosure used only for feeding. A fully grown adult red-tailed boa can easily reach 10 feet in length and 50 pounds in weight. Morphs are quite common in captivity thanks to selective breeding. Any hobbyist keeping this species should plan ahead for a large adult. Captive boas don’t have the luxury of the Amazon rain forest and need an enclosure with a daytime air temperature between 82 and 90 degrees, with a separate “basking” area kept between 90 and 95 degrees. Avoid any untreated cypress or other wood species that contain oils. Expert Tip: Younger snakes may climb on branches or perches. [29], This species does well in captivity, usually becoming quite tame. Semantics aside, this particular type of pet snake is hugely popular in herpetology circles. They’re also quite peaceful, making them fairly easy to handle. Expert Tip: As a good rule of thumb, provide an enclosure with a length measurement that’s at least two-thirds the length of your snake. Many will require animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, or chickens. In fact, they will often seek out warm areas on the body before getting settled. [19] This would lead to unconsciousness and death very quickly. The greatest reliable age recorded for a boa constrictor in captivity is 40 years, 3 months, and 14 days. This guide goes over everything you need to know when it comes to Colombian red tail boa care. Red tailed boas also are susceptible to respiratory infections, marked by wheezing and nasal discharge. A foamy discharge from a snake's mouth usually indicates pneumonia, which requires immediate treatment. However, overhead lamps work well, too. At night the temperature should go no lower than 78 degrees. At 3–4 years, boa constrictors become sexually mature and reach the adult size of 6–10 feet (1.8–3.0 m), although they continue to grow at a slow rate for the rest of their lives. As you can guess from the snake’s common trade name, these creatures are most-often found throughout Colombia. It should be able to easily fit its entire body in the bowl to soak. Red tailed boas should also have a hide box or place to escape the heat and to curl up in a quiet, hidden place whenever they want to. Handle your snake frequently to maintain its peaceful nature. They sometimes survive near villages, where they may enter homes and buildings. Females, the larger sex, more commonly weigh 10 to 15 kg (22 to 33 lb). They can strike when nervous, but if you do your part to avoid stress and surprise there’s a very low chance of them biting you. Red-tailed boas generally are docile snakes, though wild-caught boas tend to be more aggressive than captive-bred boas. [11] Some specimens of this species can reach or possibly exceed 45 kg (100 lb), although this is not usual. By using The Spruce Pets, you accept our, Behavior and Temperament of Red Tailed Boas, Kingsnakes and Milk Snakes: Species Profile, How to Care for a Central American Boa as a Pet, Feeding Snakes Frozen Mice and Other Prey. PART OF WILD SKY MEDIA | FAMILY & PARENTING, Melissa Kaplan’s Herp Care Collection: Red-Tail Boa Care, Saint Louis Zoo: Red-Tailed Boa Constrictor, Nurtured by Nature: Columbian Red-Tailed Boa Constrictor, Reptile Channel: Caring for the Red-Tailed Boa Constrictor. Example: “ReptiFiles.com is the best place to learn about correct reptile husbandry.”. They vary between a slate gray or regular browns and tans, like most boas. They generally only spend time together during mating, which can take place at any point throughout the year. Males will usually stop growing after they reach 6 to 8 feet. It takes the snake about 4–6 days to fully digest the food, depending on the size of the prey and the local temperature. © 2020 WILD SKY MEDIA. Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. Boa constrictors are very popular within the exotic pet trade and have been both captured in the wild and bred in captivity. We recommend these pets for owners who have a bit of experience. They are relatively large snakes with a girthy and muscular build. They’re also a long-lived snake. Shape The World. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window), Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window), Introduction to Boa Constrictors, aka “Red-Tailed Boas”, Red-Tailed Boa Shopping List & Starter Kit, Unlike most other live-bearing reptiles, boas are. [27] The female then sheds two to three weeks after ovulation, in what is known as a post-ovulation shed which lasts another 2–3 weeks, which is longer than a normal shed. As juveniles, a larger enclosure will cause unwanted stress and anxiety. [22] Due to their polygynous nature, many of these males will be unsuccessful. They are nocturnal, but they may bask during the day when night-time temperatures are too low. A female Colombian red tail boa can grow to be between 7 and 10 feet long. Red tailed boas can be easily acquired from a breeder, pet store, or reptile show and are identifiable by their red patterned coloration on the end of their tail. They will live 25 to 30 years in captivity if well cared for and are big snakes for the average pet owner. Red tailed boas need to be seriously considered before being purchased due to their strength, size, the amount they eat, and their ability to constrict. Early on, this may take some time. The head is shaped like an arrow. Just make sure you have adequate room before you overcrowd the enclosure. You can add other decorative items to improve the quality of life for your snake. [18] The bulk of their diet consists of rodents, but larger lizards and mammals as big as ocelots are also reported to have been consumed. Young snakes will do fine in a vivarium-style enclosure that’s about 30 inches long, 12 inches wide, and about 12 inches tall. Although these individuals are rare in the wild, they are common in captivity, where they are often selectively bred to make a variety of different color "morphs". But avoid using hot rocks because they can cause thermal burns in a snake. There have also been documented cases of boa constrictors which have reached 40. A more natural alternative is aspen shavings. Some individuals exhibit pigmentary disorders, such as albinism. Colombian red tail boas aren’t just big. Give it some time to get familiar with its surroundings and your presence. Colombian red tail boa care is quite manageable for owners with a bit of experience. ReptiFiles’ first priority is providing accurate information on the species represented and their care. The boa is a semi-arboreal species of constricting snake native to Central and South America.Like many snakes, this species is surrounded by myths. Colombian red tail boas are an interesting bunch. Perhaps the most important thing about an enclosure for a red tailed boa is how secure it needs to be. While rare, measurements over the average do occur. Some are beautifull orange & red with very pastel backgrounds while some look like the original Bolivians that came in ( Charcoal Gray with dark bellies ) and are of the "Silver Back " bloodline. ReptiFiles.com is a compilation of factual, science-based research from the best reptile care resources in the world, packaged in one neat website. The most growth occurs during their first 6 years of life, but a boa constrictor can keep growing through age 15. Tree branches may or may not be used by your snake. Let’s start with the enclosure. Since red tail boas come from a tropical environment, the ease of maintaining humidity levels should be taken into consideration when setting up a cage. Glass or plexiglass sides and lids help to keep humidity higher in an enclosure but you will want to make sure enough air is still able to circulate inside and that nothing will melt from the heating devices. What is ReptiFiles®? While some owners have been able to house females together, we don’t recommend trying it. Heat lights, ceramic heat emitters, undertank heaters, and incubator cages are all acceptable means of heating a snake cage. Their prey includes a wide variety of small to medium-sized mammals and birds. It's true they do spend a good deal of time in the trees, but we have also see them on the lawn, in long grass, under logs, and in the lakes. [19] Their teeth also help force the animal down the throat while muscles then move it toward the stomach. Expert Tip: Younger snakes require food every 10 days or so. Orton’s original report on the snake stated that they’re quite short and squat, but modern breeders disagree, saying the snake can reach upwards of 11, 12 or even 13 feet. Check the enclosure conditions and address any problems to help them relax before attempting to handle them again. [23] The Colombian rainbow boa (Epicrates maurus) was found to reproduce by facultative parthenogenesis resulting in production of WW female progeny. Your snake needs a large, sturdy bowl for water. All subspecies will be described in further detail in section 2 of this guide: Members of the Boa Genus.