Red Tail Boa Care Sheet

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Info

Red-Tail Boa, photo by hj_west
Red-Tail Boa, photo by hj_west
  • Scientific Name: Boa constrictor
  • Lifespan: Approximately 30 years based on care
  • Handling: Anytime; use caution when handling 1 week before feeding. Try not to handle red-tail boa for at least 2 days after feeding to insure proper digestion
  • Size: Up to 6 – 10 feet
  • Care: Moderate
  • Community: Red Tail Boas should not be housed together and should only be housed together when being mated together.
  • Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.

Tank Size

The size tank depends on the size of your green tree python. Below are two tank sizes that you will be needing for juvenile and adult red tail boas.

  • Young Red Tail Boa: 20 gallon long tank is recommended
  • Adult Red Tail Boa: 40 gallon tank is recommended

No enclosure is too big for a Red Tail Boa. Bigger is always better.

 

Note: Lids and lid locks are necessary due to the fact that red tail boa’s can and will try to get out of the tank on occasion. If you do not have lid locks, you can easily place a few heavy objects on the corners of the lid.

Tank Setup

Hides

Red tail boas need 2 hides in their enclosure. This is where they will spend the majority of their days sleeping.

  1. Dry hide on the cool side.
  2. Dry hide on the hot side.

Two hides give your red tail boa options to choose from. If your red tail boa is cold, he will go to the hide on the warm side. If your red tail boa is warm, he will go to the hide on the cool side. Options keep your red tail boa healthy, happy, and comfortable.

Foliage

Foliage is what makes the enclosure come to life. With foliage, your red tail boa will feel secure and safe. Foliage can be made up of fake or live plants. Real plants do however give an advantage over fake plants by giving the enclosure a more realistic feel, adding higher humidity levels in the enclosure, and making it look nicer. Just make sure to trim your plants monthly and have proper lighting.

Lighting & Heating

Red Tail Boa’s do not need a UVB bulb. All they need is a source of heat through a heat lamp or heat pad (which goes on from the outside of the tank, not the inside). Some people use heat rocks, but it is not recommended due to some incidents of a few boas getting burned on their underside. Sometimes heat rocks just get too hot.

Temperatures

When measuring temperatures, it’s best to use digital thermometers. Dial thermometers tend to give off inaccurate measurements.

Day Time

Cool side: 75 – 80 °F

Warm side: 85 – 90 °F

Night Time

No lights are necessary. The temperatures should be between 70 – 75 °F. If it is too cold to meet this temperature without lights, I recommend using a ceramic heat emitter or a reptile infrared heat light.

Feeding & Diet

Frozen & Thawed Mice or Rats

Here at clubfauna, we strive for the most humane feedings possible, which is why you should try frozen feeders first. Feeding frozen (pre-killed) rodents will benefit you, the feeder, and the red tail boa. It will benefit you because you won’t have to keep going to the store to buy live feeders or deal with a living rodent if your snake isn’t hungry. It will benefit your snake by allowing your red tail boa to easily consume the prey without a struggle (some rodents bite and scratch). Lastly, it will benefit the feeder by not having to endure a painful death. Obviously, the choice to feed frozen & thawed vs live rodents is up to you, but please take all the benefits into consideration when deciding.

 

Frozen meals should be warmed according to the package directions. You may feed them by using long tongues and dangling the mice/rat to imitate movement. This method can decrease the aggression build up in a red tail boa making him less aggressive.

Live Mice or Rats

You can throw the live feeder into the tank and let the red tail boa attack it on its own or you can dangle the live feeder by its tail using tongues or your hand (if you’re experienced) and let the snake attack it that way. However, this method has a downfall. Live feeders have a tendency like any other living thing that’s being eaten, to do everything possible to get away. This can cause harm or discomfort to your red tail boa. The live feeder may scratch your Red Tail Boas face with its nails or even try to bite your red tail boa.

 

If in 20 minutes, the feeder has not been eaten, the Red Tail Boa will usually not eat it that day. Never leave a feeder in a Red Tail Boas enclosure for a longer period of time or overnight. This could cause harm, stress, and problems to your red tail boa. If your snake does not eat the feeder, simply remove the feeder to its separate enclosure along with food and water, and try again in three days.

Humidity

Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Normally, you should have the humidity at around 50 – 60%.  Some items that can help increase humidity levels are live plants, a water bowl, and a few spray downs throughout the day. When your red tail boa starts to shed, you should increase the percentages by about 10 – 20 percent. The increase in humidity will allow your red tail boa to shed faster and easier. After the shed is complete, you should lower the percentages back down to 50 – 60%. You can easily measure the humidity percentages by using a digital hygrometer (humidity gauge). Dial hygrometers tend to give off inaccurate measurements.

 

During shed, do not attempt to handle your snake without caution. Your snake’s vision becomes altered at this point and he may consider your hand to be food and may attempt to strike you.

Hydration

Choose a water bowl big enough for the red tail boa to submerge itself into the water when he needs to. This will also allow your snake to drink and hydrate. Water bowls should be cleaned every other day to reduce the chance of bacterial build up and dirty water.

 

Safe water to use:

  1. De-chlorinated water.
  2. Tap water that has been left out for 24 hours uncovered, allowing the chlorine to evaporate.
  3. Bottled water.

Substrate

Unprinted newspaper, paper towels, or aspen may be used for a cheaper substrate. Repti bark or cypress mulch is an alternative to add a little more naturalistic look to the enclosure. However, it is a little more expensive. But this will help with the more ‘at home’ feeling for your red tail boa. Sand is not recommended as a substrate.

 

Note: The information on this red tail boa care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care.

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