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Suriname Red-tail Boa Care Sheets
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Care Sheet for Red Tail Boas

Average Rating Given To This Care Sheet Is 3.68    (1=lowest, 5=highest)    Last Updated: 01/01/2005

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Sub Category:

Red Tail Boas

 Care Sheet Submitted By:


Years Experience:

1 to 2 Years


Suriname Red-tail Boa

Other Species or Phases this Care Sheet May Cover:

Red-tail boas...or pretty much any type of boa...much of the information is related to other snake varieties as well.

Sexing and Characteristics:

General characteristics...males have a broader tail about half the width of their lower regions(just above the red-tail) and the females tend to be more be sure take the snake to a professional for probing

Mostly Active During:


Substrate and Water Needs:

I use reptile mats but you can use newspaper, rodent bedding but NOT cedar because itís toxic, paper towels or aquarium rocks.

Lighting and UVB:

Lighting is said not to be required but I use a 60 watt bulb in one corner during the day for 12-16 hours depending on when I wake up and go to bed - they are native to Suriname, South America which is close to the equator so light and ...Full-spectrum is recommended once they get older b/c its better for the coloration and skin.

Temperatures and Humidity:

I keep my cage 88-90 during the day and about 83-85 at night. I have done research on the Suriname natural climate and since it is near the equator it has a pretty steady temperature year round so fluctuation really isnít necessary. I mist the cage twice a day b/c it is also very humid down there, and I make sure the snake is well misted as well for shedding reasons. I try not to get the substrates so bacteria will not build up...if you notice a staining from this misting on the glass, just clean it with glass cleaner with the snake and the interior stuff OUT of the cage..donít want him/her in the middle of the fumes and then let the cage air out for a good while before replacing anything.

Heating and Equipment:

You need a hot side and a cool side in the cage. I have a heating pad place on the back of the hot side which never turns off for consistent heating - For the day I use a 60 watt light that is in the same corner of the cage which I consider her "basking-spot", then at night I turn off the light and have a regular muscle heating pad that I turn on medium to high depending on how cool it is in my room which regulates the temp. at around 83-85 - If she gets too cold at night she will normally lay right on the hot side flooring and heat right up.

Caging Provided:

As a baby she was put in a 20 gallon aquarium, she has been moved to a 55 gal and soon which I am working on a 5íx2íx2í terrarium with various custom features. Inside the cage I have the REQUIRED hiding spot, water bowl (deep enough for her to get into and soak in), various climbing branches and of course the reptile matting. Other things you may consider are background pictures to further emphasize the tropical settings for both viewers and the snake itself. Lots of leaves or other natural features may be included to make the snake more comfortable.



Description of Diet:

There are a few ways to do this. You need to find a separate enclosure to feed her in that way she will not grow used to the noises inside her own cage and mistake your hand for the rodent. Also for both live and pre-killed feeders always wash your hands after handling any type of rodent or the snake may mistake you for food.

There are 3 types of feeding:
LIVE - Live feeding is simply dropping the mouse into the cage and letting the snake hunt it as she would in the wild. If this is the case take my advice from above about a separate feeding enclosure, and make sure she has all the hunting accessories required - tree boas may need branches or camouflage and sand-boas obviously need sand. Other than that just make sure you keep a close eye on the mouse and NEVER leave the two alone b/c rats/mice have been known to injure snakes, and be very careful about pulling out the mice if the snake doesn’t want to eat...that way you save yourself getting bit.

FROZEN - You buy frozen food and thaw them out and pretty much set it in the feeding terrarium for the snake to eat...pretty self explanatory except many snakes wonít accept this method of feeding - I have heard dipping them in chicken broth and then washing the excess off adds scent and helps the chances greatly but I am a live feeder so I only know what I have read/heard.

PRE-KILLED - Frozen falls under this category but this simply deals with killing your snakeís prey before feeding it. This can be done by holding the tail and knocking the head on a hard surface. The advantage of this is there is still scent/taste/body heat for the snake to detect. If you donít want to live feed, I highly recommend this method.

Hatching/14-22inch/pinkies-fuzzy mice
1 year/2-3ft/small rats, regular size mice
2 years-adults/3-12ft/med-large rats, other large rodents/mammals, birds, other reptiles.

Rule of thumbs is not to feed it anything that is wider than its girth(widest point), but after shedding they can take down slightly larger food items.

One step I would like to inform people of that is not very often mentioned is food preparation. This may seem excessive but I like to wash the prey to rid it of mites and other germs it may carry and then feed it - This will both make the meal more safe and nutritious at the same time.

Also to move your boa from her feeding terrarium, give her about 2 hours after fully ingesting the prey so it settles and such before handling. And never try to feed a snake that is shedding.

Supplements, Nutrition and Usage:

I found feeding prey before giving them to my snake not only makes them easier for the snake to get but also adds nutrients to the meal. Give the prey rodent nutrients and that will most definitely pass on to the snake.


I clean my cage once every two weeks. Itís necessary to do it more often when they are young or first brought in from a pet store due to a very common mite problem. Also I change my water once or twice a day, making sure it is full and checking for defecation (feces) and mites. I also like to clean the glass on my cage for appearance every once and a while. Make sure you also wash the reptile mats if you own them with detergent and let them dry completely before replacing.

Some Words on this Species:

My boa is a very docile animal. She does get mad but only when I make mistakes such as approaching her the wrong way(from the front/top, too quickly, too roughly). Even when she is mad, she has never struck out or even hissed. Just taken the defensive position and given me the evil eyes. She is very fun to handle, she will climb anywhere and is always very curious to her surroundings making her a very interesting individual to watch. I definitely recommend a boa to anyone that is willing to deal with it for 20-25 years and after it gets to be 10-12 feet.
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The information contain in these care sheets represents only the opinions and husbandry care of members and therefore is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate or reflects the advice or opinions of It is always advised to seek additional information or the advice of a qualified veterinarian or qualified reptile dealer. It is also advisable for you to a good amount of research before implementing any of the ideas and care described in these care sheets. We also recommend you ask many questions in their related forums before acting on any information.

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