Just got my first viper boa. She is wild caught unfortunately but I have a good exotics vet to get her checked out. Just wanted to know if there were any viper boa keepers out there with some tips and tricks for keeping these guys? I know humidity is key but anything else I should know?
I do not keep them but every indication I have seen/heard/read is that they are probably best treated as obligate lizard/frog eaters. So I would strongly suggest finding a supply of those (or an equivalent, like ReptiLinks)
They can be switched to rodents eventually, but if it’s a fresh WC, chances are it won’t eat rodents.
WC viper boas can eat rodents right away or may not. If they won’t eat rodents we scent pray with lizard/frog or bird after a few feedings they switch over. They will readily eat ft quail. It’s harder IMO to get them to take f/t rodents then switch to rodents.
Only problem with having them eat rodents when they are adapted for eating lizards/frogs is that the higher fat content could cause a shortened lifespan. If an animal is adapted for a specific diet, it is best to feed them that diet. Not switch them to something they would rarely if ever get in the wild for our convenience. As @t_h_wyman said, reptilinks are a great way to feed them what they need easily. I am actually thinking of getting some for my kingsnake and rat snake just to give a varied diet.
I have to disagree with you on that. Viper boas in nature eat a wide variety of things including rodents. CB viper boas eat rodents from birth with no issues at all. Since as far as I know no one knows how long they live in nature there is no way to know if they live longer in captivity or not.
Viper boas have a fairly well earned reputation of expiring from FLD in captivity when kept on rodent only diets. Yes, in the wild they can/do eat rodents because they are opportunists like most all snakes are. That does not change the fact that they have evolved to eat a diet composed of predominantly lizards and frogs.
Egg-eating snakes have been shown to eat rodents in captivity, but that does not mean that they should be converted to a rodent only diet.
Feeding animals a diet that is convenient for you does not necessarily make it best for them
I agree egg eating snakes should not be feed a diet of rodents as they have evolved only to eat eggs. Viper boas I have to disagree with you on.
Most species of snakes we keep aren’t just eating rats in the wild and definitely not the fatty rats and lab mice we feed like anterasia eat Geckos and things in the wild but we raise em up on strictly rodents
I always believed all Candoia to have slower metabolisms. Cold-blooded prey items seem to digest faster, something I really noticed with garter snakes and monocle cobras eating fish.
Jerry Conway’s Candoia page was my go-to reference in keeping and understanding them, I wonder how his info has held up through the years.
Much like emerald tree boas, the prey item can be rodents, it’s the frequency of feeding that is more important. If you’re aiming to feed a collection weekly, and do the same for your viper boas, they will fatten up easier. If I recall, Candoia are better fed every other week. If this applies to adults only, I am not sure. Monitoring your captive’s digestion and frequency of waste will help aid in a better rate of growth and feeding.
Another well known group is that of Bitis vipers. The ever-beautiful Rhino and Gaboon vipers. These guys are garbage disposals as I have kept them, but it was always advised to wait for a bowel movement before feeding the next prey item. I think I enjoyed these guys too much, they were too fascinating to feed!
It’s hard to believe that evolution would demand a specific diet for perfect captive results. We eliminate many risks in captivity, especially parasites. King cobras are fed rodents when they actually have a smaller mouth designed to eat other snakes. It might not be fun feeding a ton of smaller rodents to accommodate the small mouth of the world’s longest venomous snake, but switched specimens are seen thriving.
There are some exceptions, my favorite two are going to be mud snakes that eat amphiumas and sirens. I sure wish someone would make amphiuma snake sausages LOL.
The other specialty feeder I adore would be the eastern hognose snake. Rodents can be done, but they sure are stubborn for toads from what I’ve read.
I guess we still have a lot to learn, but we’re slowly getting there!
I absolutely adore Rhino & Gaboon vipers! Though I’m not up to keeping anything venomous myself, every chance I get to see them in person is cherished for sure! And I hadn’t realized just how long king cobras are until I saw one in person- holy cow!
I have hognoses on the reptilinks so it would not be hard for me to offer some frog ones to my viper boa now. The question would just be how many at a feeding and all that. But I like the advice of track the digestion and feed based on that. My ball pythons and reticulated pythons are garbage disposals for sure and will eat as often as I will feed them so the hognoses and viper boa have been a bit of a learning curve for sure. I’m excited to work with viper Boas I have already seen such cool behavior and habits from her in the few days I have had her.
Yeah, and many of the species that do not eat rodents end up with metabolic issues like fatty liver disease and expire rather young because of this.
Just because you can survive on nothing but BigMacs, Twinkies, and Mountain Dew goes not mean that is the best diet out there.
ReptiLinks makes frog sausages… Those might work
Yea I wasn’t saying it was right I was just saying that’s how it is and different species adapt to rodent diets differently like I think 90% of anterasia are overweight I was just saying that other species that would rarely eat a rodent in the wild eat strictly rodents in captivity