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  1. #11
    Registered User kath_'s Avatar
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    Re: Doing some boa research. Would appreciate help!

    Quote Originally Posted by bcr229 View Post
    While a BI female can get up to seven+ feet remember that it won't happen overnight. If fed properly she won't reach that size for many years, so you'll have plenty of time to acclimate to her growth. It's a little different than when dealing with a female mainland retic that could top ten feet in 18 months.
    Very good point . I think that's why I would want to get a juvenile boa to start out with so I can get used to her size as the years go by.
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  3. #12
    Registered User kath_'s Avatar
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    Re: Doing some boa research. Would appreciate help!

    This brings up another question I forgot to ask initially.
    What are your recommended feeding schedules for a BCI to avoid obesity? Based on what research I've done, it seems like it can be very easy to overfeed a boa, as their metabolisms are so slow.

    I feel like this varies sometimes from keeper to keeper but judging from the videos and caresheets I've read they all generally seem to agree on the following:

    • Babies - mice every 7 days
    • Juveniles (1 year old-ish) - small rats every 2 weeks
    • 2-4 years old - medium rats every 3 weeks
    • 5 years old - large rats every 4 weeks
    • Seniors (7+ foot) - jumbo rats every 5-6 weeks


    Please feel free to give as much feedback as possible because this is something I want to get right.
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  4. #13
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Doing some boa research. Would appreciate help!

    Quote Originally Posted by kath_ View Post
    This brings up another question I forgot to ask initially.
    What are your recommended feeding schedules for a BCI to avoid obesity? Based on what research I've done, it seems like it can be very easy to overfeed a boa, as their metabolisms are so slow.

    I feel like this varies sometimes from keeper to keeper but judging from the videos and caresheets I've read they all generally seem to agree on the following:

    • Babies - mice every 7 days
    • Juveniles (1 year old-ish) - small rats every 2 weeks
    • 2-4 years old - medium rats every 3 weeks
    • 5 years old - large rats every 4 weeks
    • Seniors (7+ foot) - jumbo rats every 5-6 weeks


    Please feel free to give as much feedback as possible because this is something I want to get right.
    I agree with the start of that, but even as a full-grown adult, I found my girl did best on a medium rat about every 3 weeks. She was very uncomfortable when I tried
    her on a large rat, so I stuck with mediums & she had a solid healthy weight, but was not fat (at 7.5'). Jumbo rats are basically retired breeders that have higher fat
    content, & for that reason, I don't think they make sense to feed most boas, since their metabolism tends to be slower, but there's probably exceptions to this.
    Many friends in low places...

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  6. #14
    bcr229's Avatar
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    Re: Doing some boa research. Would appreciate help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Jumbo rats are basically retired breeders that have higher fat content, & for that reason, I don't think they make sense to feed most boas, since their metabolism tends to be slower, but there's probably exceptions to this.
    This is correct and it's why my boas get rabbits rather than jumbo rats. Also with jumbo rats you have to watch sizes, as I got some female retired breeders locally that were 24 ounces! The retics got those rats and the boas got 8 ounce rabbit weans.

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  8. #15
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Doing some boa research. Would appreciate help!

    Quote Originally Posted by kath_ View Post
    This brings up another question I forgot to ask initially.
    What are your recommended feeding schedules for a BCI to avoid obesity? Based on what research I've done, it seems like it can be very easy to overfeed a boa, as their metabolisms are so slow.

    I feel like this varies sometimes from keeper to keeper but judging from the videos and caresheets I've read they all generally seem to agree on the following:

    • Babies - mice every 7 days
    • Juveniles (1 year old-ish) - small rats every 2 weeks
    • 2-4 years old - medium rats every 3 weeks
    • 5 years old - large rats every 4 weeks
    • Seniors (7+ foot) - jumbo rats every 5-6 weeks


    Please feel free to give as much feedback as possible because this is something I want to get right.

    Few things. First, yes a female BI will take a long time to get to full size if fed properly. However, males can have the same personality, and they are all different. I would go with a boa you really like, male or female. You might also want to get a yearling so it's established and you will have a better sense of their personality.

    When I bought Behira, I asked the breeder for his calmest, most docile, animal that ate well. I ended up with Behira and have no regrets. She was just over a year when I got her. I did the same thing with Feliz.

    Also, as mentioned, locale Boas can be much smaller, but do not always have the personality of their bigger cousins. My dwarf BCC, Feliz, is a boa known for being gentle and docile. He was also a little older as he was a holdback, so I knew he was a sweetheart before I got him.

    I can recommend breeders who will ship, or might be local to you, or relatively local. Either way, I have breeders I trust implicitly. I am sure others here do as well.

    Finally, hook training, as discussed is probably the best way to prevent food response, and even other, bites.

    https://ball-pythons.net/forums/show...=hook+training

    I put the thread above together for people learning to hook train.

    Regarding feeding.

    I would do the following:


    • Babies - mice every 7 days
    • Juveniles - 2 years - rat pups, then weaned rats weekly. Small rats every two weeks, if appropriate size. Never big enough to leave a big lump.
    • 3 to adulthood (or sooner if big enough) - medium rats every 3 weeks


    Can you go to large rats. Yes. There is a big debate on this.

    First, larger rats have more fat. Secondly, Boas are incredibly efficient and any animal metabolizes smaller meals better.

    I plan to feed Behira medium rats for life. She will still get big - but not huge and obese. You can dictate size and health. Yes, if your boa looks emaciated, you can either feed more frequently, or a slightly larger meal. However, from what I've been told by breeders, that won't happen. You can have a happy and healthy female BI at 6-7FT and 8-12 pounds getting the most out of medium rats for life. It's different if you adopt a large boa, but still, once they stop growing, they will make use of all that medium rat (if that - they probably only need some of it if fed regularly).

    It is very easy overfeed a boa, or any snake, in captivity. It is much harder to get them to trim down. Boas in particular have very slow metabolisms, but as with most snakes, less is more, especially with Boas.

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  10. #16
    Registered User kath_'s Avatar
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    Re: Doing some boa research. Would appreciate help!

    Quote Originally Posted by bcr229 View Post
    This is correct and it's why my boas get rabbits rather than jumbo rats. Also with jumbo rats you have to watch sizes, as I got some female retired breeders locally that were 24 ounces! The retics got those rats and the boas got 8 ounce rabbit weans.
    Sounds like a good plan to stick with medium rats or rabbits for life then.
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  11. #17
    Registered User kath_'s Avatar
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    Re: Doing some boa research. Would appreciate help!

    Quote Originally Posted by dakski View Post
    Few things. First, yes a female BI will take a long time to get to full size if fed properly. However, males can have the same personality, and they are all different. I would go with a boa you really like, male or female. You might also want to get a yearling so it's established and you will have a better sense of their personality.

    When I bought Behira, I asked the breeder for his calmest, most docile, animal that ate well. I ended up with Behira and have no regrets. She was just over a year when I got her. I did the same thing with Feliz.

    Also, as mentioned, locale Boas can be much smaller, but do not always have the personality of their bigger cousins. My dwarf BCC, Feliz, is a boa known for being gentle and docile. He was also a little older as he was a holdback, so I knew he was a sweetheart before I got him.

    I can recommend breeders who will ship, or might be local to you, or relatively local. Either way, I have breeders I trust implicitly. I am sure others here do as well.

    Finally, hook training, as discussed is probably the best way to prevent food response, and even other, bites.

    https://ball-pythons.net/forums/show...=hook+training

    I put the thread above together for people learning to hook train.

    Regarding feeding.

    I would do the following:


    • Babies - mice every 7 days
    • Juveniles - 2 years - rat pups, then weaned rats weekly. Small rats every two weeks, if appropriate size. Never big enough to leave a big lump.
    • 3 to adulthood (or sooner if big enough) - medium rats every 3 weeks


    Can you go to large rats. Yes. There is a big debate on this.

    First, larger rats have more fat. Secondly, Boas are incredibly efficient and any animal metabolizes smaller meals better.

    I plan to feed Behira medium rats for life. She will still get big - but not huge and obese. You can dictate size and health. Yes, if your boa looks emaciated, you can either feed more frequently, or a slightly larger meal. However, from what I've been told by breeders, that won't happen. You can have a happy and healthy female BI at 6-7FT and 8-12 pounds getting the most out of medium rats for life. It's different if you adopt a large boa, but still, once they stop growing, they will make use of all that medium rat (if that - they probably only need some of it if fed regularly).

    It is very easy overfeed a boa, or any snake, in captivity. It is much harder to get them to trim down. Boas in particular have very slow metabolisms, but as with most snakes, less is more, especially with Boas.
    Bookmarked the hook training thread. Thank you so much for responding and giving me so much useful information. Can't express how much this helps.
    I would love breeder recommendations. Should I PM you?
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  12. #18
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Doing some boa research. Would appreciate help!

    Quote Originally Posted by kath_ View Post
    Bookmarked the hook training thread. Thank you so much for responding and giving me so much useful information. Can't express how much this helps.
    I would love breeder recommendations. Should I PM you?
    Feel free to PM anytime.

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  14. #19
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    Re: Doing some boa research. Would appreciate help!

    Quote Originally Posted by kath_ View Post
    (Sorry. Long post ahead.)

    Hey everyone! I am doing some research on boa husbandry and thought I would reach out to this community with my questions. Don't feel like you have to answer every single one, but any amount of feedback would be appreciated.
    I am considering a female BCI or a female dumerils.

    1. How would you compare boa husbandry to BP husbandry? My only other reptile is a male normal BP and I have found the experience challenging at times, but overall very rewarding and pretty easy. I have heard boa care is similar to BP care.
    Here's a quick rundown of my BP enclosure. Would any of these things work just as well for a boa?
    • Exoterra 24x18x18 (I have half the top covered to keep humidity in.) This will obviously have to be much bigger for a boa.
    • Substrate: Eco Earth Coconut Fiber (about half an inch)
    • Ambient temp: 80 degrees (thermostat controlled CHE)
    • Cool side: same as ambient
    • Hot side: 90 degrees (thermostat controlled UTH)
    • 3 hides (one on cool end, one on hot end, and one in the middle just for some variety)
    • Humidity 60% (I have a Reptirain misting system)


    2. How big is too big for a boa enclosure? If I were to get a juvenile BCI I would house her in a 40 gallon and then eventually upgrade to a 8'x2'x2' for her adult years. I have heard recommendations for smaller sized adult BCI enclosures because it will make them feel more secure but I thought I would consult you guys on this one. As for an adult dumeril I'm looking at a 6'x2'x2'.

    3. Terrestrial or arboreal enclosure for BCI? I have heard that the babies like to climb but don't really do it in their adult years.

    4. How picky are boas compared to BPs when it comes to eating?

    5. Do boas need a dish big enough to soak in? I have heard so many different opinions on this one.

    6. This is a weird, kind of unrelated question but how often do you take your reptiles to the vet? I take my BP once a year for a checkup but have heard that it isn't necessary? lol maybe I'm just a paranoid snake mom.

    Those are the questions I have for now! Thanks again for any feedback and any other useful info you can think of would be greatly appreciated.
    I have a male Dumerils boa. Pic is a little outdated but almost at a year old, he did not get much bigger. Reason being is Dumerils boa mature very slowly compared to other species of boa. If you plan to breed with your female, it may take at least 5 years to mature plus additional time if it did not gain enough weight prior to breeding. It is not unusual for females to start breeding at 7 years of age or older. Hence, they are less easy to find and less inviting for most breeders.

    That aside, this is the basics for a Dumerils boa:

    Hotspot at about 85F. Contrary to caresheets, these snakes prefer cooler temps.

    Hides are less important than burrowing substrate. About 3 inch minimum of substrate that they can burrow and hide in. I use aspen for my enclosure.

    Tubs work best as these snakes still need some humidity of about 50-60% like a ball python.

    These are shy snakes. If you had experience working with a ball python that won't eat, then you are ready for one.

    The care difficulty is similar to ball pythons but a step up. While almost all Dumerils boa do not bite (I have yet to be bitten or heard any other owners who were), these are powerful snakes as adults and should it choose to bite, it may do some damage compared to a ball python. Fortunately these snakes are extremely, super docile no matter. I have never been tagged or hissed by my boa even from the start. They prefer to run away when they are scared but calms down quickly once it learned you are not going eat him.

    Lastly, these are beautiful snakes. Pictures do not do them justice. Their scales are smooth and the patterns are gorgeous. While no morphs existed for this species, there are 'bloodlines' such as pinkish hue on its body or the boldness of the patterns, but these are rare and comes at a high price.

    These snakes are slow moving, easy to handle, extremely underrated and make wonderful pets if some patience and work is given.

    And about your vet question, I do take all of herp pets to the vet when needed. Yearly check ups don't really apply to these guys like our furballs because of how different their metabolism and bodies are. So far, I only had taken my bearded dragon and blue tongue skink to the vet for minor concerns. The rule of thumb for me is, when in doubt, and/or I don't have access to the medicine that I need, I would go to the vet (One who specializes in the SPECIES that I am bringing over).

    Sent from my LGL57BL using Tapatalk

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  16. #20
    Registered User kath_'s Avatar
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    Re: Doing some boa research. Would appreciate help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesenugget View Post
    I have a male Dumerils boa. Pic is a little outdated but almost at a year old, he did not get much bigger. Reason being is Dumerils boa mature very slowly compared to other species of boa. If you plan to breed with your female, it may take at least 5 years to mature plus additional time if it did not gain enough weight prior to breeding. It is not unusual for females to start breeding at 7 years of age or older. Hence, they are less easy to find and less inviting for most breeders.

    That aside, this is the basics for a Dumerils boa:

    Hotspot at about 85F. Contrary to caresheets, these snakes prefer cooler temps.

    Hides are less important than burrowing substrate. About 3 inch minimum of substrate that they can burrow and hide in. I use aspen for my enclosure.

    Tubs work best as these snakes still need some humidity of about 50-60% like a ball python.

    These are shy snakes. If you had experience working with a ball python that won't eat, then you are ready for one.

    The care difficulty is similar to ball pythons but a step up. While almost all Dumerils boa do not bite (I have yet to be bitten or heard any other owners who were), these are powerful snakes as adults and should it choose to bite, it may do some damage compared to a ball python. Fortunately these snakes are extremely, super docile no matter. I have never been tagged or hissed by my boa even from the start. They prefer to run away when they are scared but calms down quickly once it learned you are not going eat him.

    Lastly, these are beautiful snakes. Pictures do not do them justice. Their scales are smooth and the patterns are gorgeous. While no morphs existed for this species, there are 'bloodlines' such as pinkish hue on its body or the boldness of the patterns, but these are rare and comes at a high price.

    These snakes are slow moving, easy to handle, extremely underrated and make wonderful pets if some patience and work is given.

    And about your vet question, I do take all of herp pets to the vet when needed. Yearly check ups don't really apply to these guys like our furballs because of how different their metabolism and bodies are. So far, I only had taken my bearded dragon and blue tongue skink to the vet for minor concerns. The rule of thumb for me is, when in doubt, and/or I don't have access to the medicine that I need, I would go to the vet (One who specializes in the SPECIES that I am bringing over).

    Sent from my LGL57BL using Tapatalk
    What a beautiful boy! Thank you for the information about dumerils. These are such underrated snakes. I just love their patterns and they are sweet as can be. I feel very torn between a BCI and a dumerils as they're both just so great in their own ways.
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