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Common Boa

Name Boa constrictor imperator
Type Burrows/hides/likes water
Where am I from? Central & South America
Handle-ability Can be handled and well tamed
Length/size up to 10 to 12ft, heavy bodied snake
Suitable for Intermediate due to size, but great intro to large snakes
Life span Ave 20 years


Boas are best housed in a wooden vivarium. They are not a climbing snake so ground space is more important to them than height. A male boa could live in a 4ft by 2ft vivarium as an adult and a female in a 5 or 6ft by 2ft depending on length. Obviously, plenty of space is essential for this species, and they will enjoy as much room as you can give them.

Substrate is usually aspen or beech chips if you are going to feed outside the vivarium. A large water bowl and hides must be provided.


A temperature gradient ranging from mid 20's C to 32-34C is required for this tropical species. This is best provided by a ceramic bulb with a guard and controlled by a pulse proportional thermostat for adult boas as their large bodies can thermally block a heat mat and result in burns to your boa.


Lighting is not essential for your boa as they are nocturnal, but you can provide them with lights if this makes viewing the vivarium easier. Any light must be guarded to avoid burns and the boa crushing the bulb.


Common boas need a moderate humidity and for the most part room humidity of around 50% is OK. Giving your boas vivarium a light spray with water once or twice a week will lift the humidity slightly and is beneficial to ensuring a good shed.


Boas readily eat frozen thawed mice and rats. It's best to get your boa onto eating rats fairly soon, as they will need large/jumbo rats or even rabbits as food when adult. Boas normally feed very well and will eat almost anything offered to them. Obesity can be a problem, therefore boas should be fed once a week whilst growing, but a maximum of every two weeks on an appropriately sized food item once adult.

Buying Tips

Look for good skin tone and muscle tone. Avoid sunken eyes and baggy skin.


Many morphs of boa now exist. Albino, Sunglow, Anery and Salmon are just a few examples