New lady just in (with some questions)

Hi y’all, got a new lady, who is now settling into an enclosure, that I have a few questions about!

I’m not entirely new to boas, but I’m completely new to imperators, the closest experience Ive gotten was taking care of a BCC at a local zoo which wasn’t even an imperator. I THINK she’s imperator, from the markings and just given she originally was from a petco apparently, but confirmation would totally help (apologies for bad pics, I wanted this out of the way ASAP and I don’t like taking new snakes outside before they’re settled in and it’s a bit cold)

She has a very rusty tail and salmo highlights on her sides and face in person if that helps!

Onto my other concerns, this lovely lady is nearly three years old. I have no experience with boa growth rates besides sand boas, so I don’t know if 657 grams is off sounding or not, but she does look a bit small, especially with my hand in frame which I already have pretty small hands for being six feet tall (lol) the other mai concern is that she has ZERO muscle, I’ve had baby ball pythons put a better grip on me when they’re relaxed than she did, all nervous being in a new home and everything. When I say zero muscle I mean zero, she feels like a straight marshmallow and her cage doesn’t have much climbing currently since she literally topples over any time she tries to pick herself up somewhere. So besides looks and opinions on that, is there any muscle building activities I could try for her? My pythons get “workouts” when they start feeling a bit softer than usual but I don’t necessarily trust her on any trellis or plant shelves I have up in the room or I the plant room


So a large enclosure has lots of climbing opportunities and “logs” laying on the ground that she has to go over to get to the other side of the enclosure is going to be very important. Also make her work inside and outside of her enclosure. Put her water bowl on the opposite side of her hot spot, make her have to reach up for her rat, hold her at least twice a week for 15 minutes at a time to start and bump it up to 30 as she gets used to you. And just give her some roaming time every couple of days. You may also want to get a vet check as her size and lack of muscle could be a internal issue


The water bowl should always be on the cool end btw, unless you need to up her humidity.

Congratulations on your very pretty boa! I love her coloring! She is definitely not overweight but you are correct I agree she should be presenting some noticeable muscle at this age. Muscle building protein comes from the bones of whole rodents, rats preferably. Do you know know what she has been fed?

Imo boas don’t acquire muscle from exercise in captivity. It mostly develops from the food intake/type. Of course exercise is important for a healthy snake.

You definitely don’t want to give her ANY height /climbing opportunities right now. If she falls any distance she could hurt herself. She may have some type of nutrient/vitamin deficiency that is causing her lack of strength, or something else systemically wrong. This is a bit alarming to me. My female boa was a mini powerhouse at 3 years of age.

I am tagging @tommccarthy @mattcookreptiles @smite @dsed

I may be all wrong so I am interested to see what these guys have to say about her……


Looks like a beautiful BCI. I agree that boas dont need stuff to climb on for muscle growth so that would be more of a personal preference but im not a fan. I hold my boas quite a bit so they get plenty wandering time. I would let that beauty settle in for a bit. Water bowl on the cool side is preferred


So Dennis do you think she will grow muscle in time then?


I do, proper feeding and time will get that boa plenty of muscle👍


Congrats on the new boa!

She doesn’t look stunted to me, really. A little soft looking maybe but nothing crazy. If she had little to no muscle, she’d have a flat tire look with blown out sides IMO.

Scale is hard but she looks around the same size as my '21s. I have them on small rats every 3 weeks give or take a few days.

Boas differ from one another when it comes to handling. I have some that are grippers and some that are slip-ers :slight_smile: Not sure which type actually trusts me more, but grippers are easier to hold. They just chill and watch, cruise. The others are more flighty and I have to constantly “walk” them with my two hands since they are in constant motion.

Trust your instincts for sure. Let them start off on something low like a chair or bench. Once they have calmed down a bit note whether they are using all their muscles/tail as they should and be able to climb up and down without falling. If she just sat in a tank most her life shes probably nervous and needs some practice in the climbing department.

Let her settle in. Make sure her temperature gradiant is correct hot-cool ends. I start off mine on paper towel to spot mites easy. Stay on top of water and humidity and wait for that first bowel movement/urate.


Ok and @smite reply is reassuring as well. I am always jumping the concern gun! I guess all guys are over achievers! :joy:


I would just say that your boa needs some time with a proper feeding schedule and she’ll fill out a little bit. She definitely doesn’t look underweight though. She might be a little bit soft maybe lack of exercise, but she should recover with a little time. Boas are extremely resilient so that’s what they do.


I wouldn’t worry about the size at all! It sounds like a good size for a 3 year old, I generally don’t like to see 6’ before 4 years old, and that’s pushing it (if they ever even reach 6’). That said, she also looks like she has plenty of muscle, she may just be a tad chunky. Nothing a good feeding regimen and exercise won’t fix. I wouldn’t have found anything odd about her body tone just looking; she has visible back muscles where she flexes, but the squishiness definitely sounds like some fat hanging around.

Some boas also don’t grip; they’re more focused on getting away. :joy: They’ll drop their tail and let it slam on things, just “slide” off of you, etc.

It is interesting to hear the other inputs on other possible causes! Definitely doesn’t hurt to have a vet see her once she’s settled in.