A few years ago, I bought 4 PVC enclosures for the purpose of housing my two ball pythons, gopher snake, and bearded dragon. The beardie sadly passed before I could move him in, leaving me with 4 cages and 3 snakes. After over two years with an empty enclosure, I think it’s about time to fill it.
Recently I’ve discovered the world of boas, and I think that they look like about the best snakes ever. Easy to feed, easy to keep, growing big enough to be impressive but small enough that one person can handle one. I would almost certainly get one, but there’s a problem. I could only get one if it would fit in the enclosure I have for its adult life, as I don’t have space for a big 6x2x2 cage.
The cage I have is about 4’ x 2.5’ x 1.25’, and I’m wondering if this is enough space to house a male BCI for its whole adult life. As a baby I would probably keep it in a 42qt bin until it reached about 2’, as there’s no way a tiny baby boa wouldn’t get lost in the 4’. I would get a male, as they seem to stay a little shorter.
So what’s the verdict? Is this a good lifetime enclosure for a boa, or should I wait until I have the 6x2x2 at some point in the future? I really don’t want the snake to be jammed in there, this animal would be kept as a pet, not a breeder.
Also, what size should I expect a male BCI to get? Some people say that they stay under 6’, while others say they can get 8’. Which is it? Also, do genetic traits associated with dwarf localities affect size? For instance, would a blood boa which has been outcrossed to regular BCI be the same size as a pure blood, a regular BCI, or somewhere in between? Thanks!
I think you’ll find most people agree that overall size with be the combo of feeding and genetics. Breeders are able to keep healthy males smaller than you’d think, Watch Jeff Ronne’s latest YouTube video on feeding schedules. He explains his learning curve and what he’s currently doing. He’s shows the size he brings the males to.
I think your enclosure would house a male for its life easily but you may get some varied opinions on that.
Buy from a reputable breeder, one that can tell you how big the parents were. If the female maxed out at 6-7 and the male 5 then with the right feeding schedule you can be somewhat assured a male will stay around 5’.
Thanks for all the information! Seems like boas less than a year should be eating adult mice weekly, yearlings/two year olds weaned rats every two weeks, and adults should have medium rats every 3-4 weeks, yes? Probably won’t need to feed rabbits/guinea pigs either, which is a welcome surprise. I went to Costa Rica once, and I saw a wild boa about 6’ long with a big agouti in its belly. I was under the impression they needed big prey items, but I guess that only makes sense in the wild when they eat every few months.
I have a CA boa, 5 years old. I have never measured his length but he easily fits in a 4 x 2 x 2 Boaphile enclosure (Jeff Ronne Boaphile).
I switched him to rat fuzzies quickly. He now eats 1 large rat twice a month. He is a sweetheart:
Beautiful boa! What morph is he? I’m a big fan of the blood complex, Junglows, IMGs, and VPI Snows. Of course, all boas are stunning. They’re one of those snakes where you can’t really go wrong, no matter the morph.
Well first let me say that I bought him off Kingsnake Classifieds in 2018 (before I found MM). He was listed as a CA jungle boa and he supposed to be a “hypo? Jeff Ronne says…
However I was informed early on by someone here that he is not a CA, he a Columbian and there is no way he could be jungle either. But his belly is a reddish salmon color too. So who knows what he is! Lol!
And thank you for the compliment @monty_pituophis
Those are some pretty good guidelines for feeding. You’ll want to watch the boa and adjust as needed. My newest addition is a '23 male, who is pretty young and small. I fed him a small mouse and it left a decent lump in him. I’ll be feeding him every 10-20 days (his feeding chart from the breeder was 10-14 days up to this point) depending on how he looks through medium mice. Once my boas hit large adult mice I tend to go 14-21 days. That’s based off what the breeders I purchased my animals from were doing. I’ll say once they hit weaned rats/small rats it’s an immediate growth spurt. The longer you hold out bumping up a prey item size the slower they will ultimately grow. I don’t see that as starving or stunting them in anyway, personally.
Here is a picture from May of my '22 pastel girl. She’s a little over a year old here. She eats large adult mice 14-21 days.
I’m sure some others will chime in with their feeding.
From reading around and watching Ronne’s videos it seems like the key to longevity is not growing them too fast, specially early on.
Thanks for the info! I’m currently feeding my snakes every week or two, sounds like that schedule should work for a juvenile pretty well.
I agree that your cage should be fine for most male BI’S.
I’d say the average is 5 to 6 FT.
Yes @smite and @monty_pituophis
This is so so true!