I’ve been looking into and researching arboreal snakes. I am interested in keeping them at some point, I’m just not sure when. I’m pretty sure I’ll end up getting an ATB (due to their small size, colors, and activity level; but if anyone wants to chime in with other arboreals I’d love to hear it), but finding reliable (and non-conflicting) information is tricky. Does anybody have any recommendations of where to find reliable information or knows how to keep them?
Additionally, how handleable are they? It would be a display pet, but I wouldn’t mind being able to handle it sometimes. Do they take a lot of work and still may or may not be handleable, or is it relatively simple to tame them? Does anybody have any advice about breeding them (not how to, but whether I should)? I would love to be able to produce them and reduce reliance on wild caught animals, but if it is very harmful for the adults or it is overall not beneficial to the hobby and would cause more harm than good to breed just to breed, then I wouldn’t want to.
For care, this is what I’ve found so far:
Hot spot: high 80s
Large tub for babies, 30 gallons for juveniles, 2-3 x 2 x 2 ft enclosure for adults
I have also been looking at arboreal snakes but that cage seems too small as Amazon Tree boas get 5-7 feet long.
I know some people are captive breeding them and cbb are sometimes less grumpy than wild caught or farm bred ones .
I am by no means an expert though the rest seems right.
I got into the ATB game about a year ago - just had my first clutch three weeks ago. These are great snakes.
Here are some notes on how I keep them:
I co-hab a pair in a 4 wide x 2 deep x 5 feet high bioactive enclosure (I combined two Animal Plastics enclosures and did some Universal Rocks stuff).
Generally speaking they stay in the upper two feet of the enclosure; I’ve never once seen them bask however, regardless of my obsessive attempts to dial in the perfect basking temp for them. However, if I sneak down to my reptile room at night, they’re both all over the enclosure checking things out. High 80’s on top, low 80s on the bottom of the enclosure.
*I offer rat pups or small mice every week, but they generally only take a meal every two weeks. I don’t seperate them during feeding. The enclosure is large enough that I temp one out to one side of the enclosure, give him/her a meal, then proceed with the next one. I don’t stop observing them until they’ve both finished their meals.
Overall, I don’t find them all too “bitey.” They have their moments, but if I’m slow and deliberate, I can pick them up with out a hook no problem.
The clutch I just had was a total of seven babies, some nice oranges, yellows, and one red stunner. All but one has had a meal so far, most two meals. Working diligently to get the last one to gobble down a thawed pinky. Even tho they’re captive bred, they are feisty little beasts. Probably be posting six for sale here on MorphMarket in December; I want to ensure they’re eating, gaining weight, etc.
Overall, they’ve become one of my favorite species. I was hesitant at first given their reputation, but once I got accustomed to their needs and behavior, they’re very underrated in my opinion - a wide range of colors, active when they want to be, and personable.
@paradoxrose I was initially thinking the same thing, but since they are so slender bodied and spend most of their time curled up, I don’t know if they would even use a large enclosure to stretch out. I was thinking to put them in a smaller cage when they are younger, and depending on how much they used the space, figure out what a good adult enclosure would be for that snakes’ personality.
I will definitely be getting a USCBB snake, I want things to go smoothly and I don’t want to deal with parasites and a snake that may or may not survive.
This really helps for figuring out their care. At night what are the temperatures? Do you have a heat source or do you just have it turn off?
I personally have been heavily considering adding a pair of red het calicos to my collection because they are so gorgeous lol. I have heard that they can be absolutely wonderful to have but also they have their moments when their not fun. I think that every snake that is more on the intermediate level you are going to encounter this type of thing. I would go for it Riley (also encouraging myself too lol ).
I’m pretty sure I’m going to get one. I would prefer to get a female (due to size and if I decide to breed them down the road), but since arboreals are so hard to sex I’m definitely not limiting myself to one.
For babies I use plastic totes that are tall enough to have perches/branches. They like having hides that are up off the ground but will use any hide. They especially like to stuff themselves into small spaces. Adults do fine in 2x2s or whatever you give them really. Cohabitation is fine, but they aren’t very smart so separate for feeding or you’ll turn around and one will have the other one’s head in it’s mouth
Humidity is a huge factor in caging, you don’t want them having bad sheds or you’re going to bleed trying to help them shed. Their skin isn’t like most snakes, it’s thick, it sticks hard, and it’s difficult to soak them enough to get it come off super easy like a ball python will.
For meal sizing, throw all the common guidelines out the window. Bigger goes over better with them. A shoe lace size tree boa will eat mouse hoppers that you’d never guess they could actually swallow let alone digest. Don’t go nuts but there’s nothing wrong with a meal twice the girth of the snake. They do eat a lot. Adults will eat a medium rat every week. They aren’t inclined to obesity like most boids, they have a pretty fast metabolism.
I keep mine ambient at 82* and they do great. As long as they aren’t too hot or too cold, they’re not super thermally sensitive.
This is animal specific. CBB or Imports. Some of mine are no problem at all. Others will die for the cause before they stop taking swings at you.
They’re designed to snatch fast moving avians, you give them a target, they’re going to try and hit it. They don’t have a lot of room for computing in their tiny heads so essentially you have to be on guard for a bite at all times when working with them. If you get lax with them, they’re going to tag up.
They’re super rewarding, and I recommend them to any intermediate keeper, but they bite. It’s not all that uncommon to find tree boas that aren’t very bitey, there is just no way you can guarantee getting one of those. Essentially, just assume they bite, and treat them like it and you’ll be fine.
Thank you! This is a ton of super useful advice. What substrate do you use? Do you use paper towels or a loose substrate? Also, how do you prevent bacteria/mold growth in humid enclosures? Do you take the snake out often to sanitize or do you just have to replace the substrate?
Coco, or cypress and orchid bark mixed are what I normally use. Sometimes forest floor soil mixed with orchid bark. Airflow in the room is key to keeping mold to a minimum. Make sure you have adequate ventilation in the tub and a fan in the room. You’ll have to add humidity regularly but it’s better to be drying out fast than never drying out. By the time you have a habitat moist enough that you don’t have to mist (in most of the US) you’ve got it moist enough to mold.
Also neglected a key detail in my first post. Most of mine musk every time when you first take them out. And it’s quite pungent.
This episode of Reptile Talk had a HUGE amount of information on tree boas. They mentioned doing another round table in the future, I keep forgetting to pester them to make it sooner than later. @brassmanreptiles hint hint
I don’t have one specific guide to ATBs that I’ve used for care. I’ve read some articles, and old school books that shared slightly conflicting information with regards to breeding, but overall care notated the same.
I house mine individually in Black Box 18" cubes and they have been doing very well! I previously kept them in FB80 Drawers and they thrived that way as well. I have posted pics and clips on my IG of both setups. I have RHPs on my cages - set to about 84 degrees F. They can get pretty close to the RHP with the corrugated PVC tube elevated hide. So plenty of room to thermoregulate. Gravid females will want a bit more heat for sure (as with most gravid boas).
Higher moderate humidity is key. Bad sheds are the doom of these little guys. Their skin is very fickle to get off compared to other snakes. If I do get an animal with a bad shed - a LONG soak is used to really ensure the animal is well hydrated and the skin can be removed with little stress on the animal.
While they will perch similarly to their cousins, Amazons seem to like sitting on wider or flat elevated options or at the meeting point of an “X” of two branches. They also appreciate a good hide! I offer elevated and terrestrial hides for my guys.
There’s just a little bit of my blab about these guys. I haven’t bred them in many, many years - and this year I have 3 females with the potential to go - so, fingers crossed! And like I said, feel free to pop onto my IG for some pics and vids - and as @ballornothing said - we just did a HUGE round table discussion on these guys with some USA heavy hitters in the C. hortulanus world. I think we are planning an international one later this year!