Emerald Tree Boa

I have recently acquired an Emerald Tree Boa along with a Green Tree Python from someone who was in over their head. The Emerald is wild caught and an adult, I’m not a fan of wild caught but it was part of the deal. The GTP is captive bred and I have no problems with it. I know ETB can be difficult, stress and in general require precise environments. So far I have gotten him to eat 3 times and 2 of those resulted in regurgitation from 3-7 days later. I’m assuming it is stress related but I’m worried that I’m not meeting the right environment set up. Currently he is in a 40 gal front opening glass enclosure with 1 perch that is very skinny. I have been wanting to move him but also don’t want to cause more stress. I now have a large glass arboreal enclosure (24x24x36) that will be temporary for the next 2-3 months while I wait for a PVC one.

What is your set up for an adult ETB? What do you use for heat? Currently I have a bright light on the cage during the day and a ceramic heat emitter on one corner of the cage. The ambient temps are about 74* with 70% humidity. He usually is on the cool side and if I turn it up he sits as far as possible for them heat. The hot spot is 88* and he is never anywhere near it.

He is in a room with a door that I keep closed most of the day but I’m wondering if I need to put something over the cage for a few more weeks to get him to settle down. Any advice?

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It could be stress or stress compounding an underlying condition. Wild caught ETBs tend to suffer from Avian Chlamydia which causes regurgitation. Unfortunately if that’s what’s going on, it’s not curable.

This paper talks about it

And this podcast does as well. The podcast is a complete introduction to the species and it’s husbandry requirements. As well as covering the regurgitation issue. In case the link doesn’t load it’s the Boas Boas Boas podcast episode 3.


With the previous owner being in over their head, I would be very careful with handling these snakes. The boa could still be carrying a pathogen and the python while being a CB, could have picked something up from cross contamination. I would definitely look into at the very least a fecal culture on the boa. If the results ARE positive, it may be best to treat both animals just in case.

@ballornothing is correct about chlamydia…In other places, I had seen 3 different species mentioned aside from chlamydia psittaci (psittachosis/bird chlamydia).
pneumoniae- typically causes pneumonia in people or animals they have contact with
serpentis - snake chlamydia
One other type I can’t remember at the moment that affects water turtles.

I know from personal experience, psittaci can be treated with doxycycline, but the period need to treat humans/birds is a long 45 days and in a reptile that is already showing symptoms/has a slow metabolism, it’s pretty impossible to get them over the infection before death. And even after having been treated, there’s still the issue of damage caused by the bacteria, like Asthma.
I saw a different medication in the cycline lines reccomended to treat a different species, but I don’t know if that is the same issue as the doxy and the treatment phase is long.

There is also the issue with other infections in ETB being caused by fungal infections and coccidia and other pathogens as well. So it is a bit of a tossup in what could potentially be going on. All of them can still lead to regurge, lethargy and weightloss.

Regardless, in the meantime, I would still try to make things as quiet and comfortable to reduce stress, and I would try to avoid cross contaminating as much as possible just in case the boa wasn’t contagious/shedding anything until now. A lavage would most likely be needed to know fo sure on some of the potential causes, but at the moment the easiest to gather and have tested may be the fecal sample for now.

I do really hope that it’s just stress and that whoever your boa was originally purchased from had properly dewormed and such beforehand to at least rule out worms or coccidia and giardia as potential causes.

I have a good vet that I can get a fecal done with, thank you. I didn’t even think about that. I have never handled the ETB and don’t plan to because it is extremely defensive. I’m actually kinda scared to move it to a new cage! In general I don’t handle my boas and pythons at the same time and keep them in separate rooms, just in case. I have more than a few at this point :sweat_smile: until now I knew I wasn’t experienced enough to handle their care.

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Well i agree with the,last guy getti a fecal tested is probably the best thing as of now.