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 Posted the other day, but said wrong snake, need help with boa

Ok I have fallen in love with colbian rainbow boa BUT I have a lot of research before I decide. So I hope their is someone in this forum that does not mind questions. Also I do have 20 ball pythons and one western hogans.
1. housing, substrate, type of house etc.
2 temperament, I have heard they are bitters.
3 type of heat and temp of heat?
4What do they eat.
5 How big do they get?
Ok that is all for now.........
Thank you in advance

09/25/14  08:11am


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  Message To: Wyland2222   In reference to Message Id: 2309923

 Posted the other day, but said wrong snake, need help with boa

I don’t have a rainbow but I found care info for you I’m sorry its long but its worth it...

Common Name: Columbian Rainbow Boa

Scientific Name: Epicrates cenchria maurus





found in very humid tropical forests. They are semi arboreal, so are often seen on low branches as well as on the ground.


colours you can see when petrol floats on water. Columbian

brownish red with dark markings, with the colour of the snake generally becoming more subdued with age.

Size: Columbian Rainbow boas are a small sized boa that rarely grow over 5ft. The average for a male is around 4ft, while females tend to reach lengths of 4.5- 5ft.

Life Span: 20 years is average for a Columbian Rainbow Boa in captivity, but it is not uncommon for them to reach 25 years with appropriate care.

Captive Care

Temperament Columbian Rainbow Boas are said to be the most calm and good tempered of all the different species of Rainbow Boa. They have a relatively docile temperament and can be easily tamed. They are energetic and inquisitive and make very interesting pets.

manageable size in relation to other boa species and make a good choice for those new to boa keeping. They are not recommended as a good starter snake though as they are more suited to people with previous snake keeping experience due to there need of high humidity.

Columbian Rainbow Boas are not likely to bite as adults, but hatchlings and juveniles are notorious for being a little nippy. Regular handling should calm your young boa down in time and it should not be a problem.

Handling Columbian Rainbow Boas are quite





exercise. Columbian Rainbow boas are nocturnal, so will generally be more active at night, so this is a good time to handle your boa. In adulthood your Columbian Rainbow Boa will be quite large so should be handled with care. They are extremely muscular and can grip on very tightly, but they should be easy to un-wind if you are uncomfortable.

Hatchling Rainbow Boas are known to be a little nippy,

handling and as they age.


In the wild, Columbian Rainbow Boas will feed on a variety of prey including birds, lizards and small mammals,

entirely on mice or rats and still be healthy.

Hatchlings start on fuzzy mice or rat pups, one every 5-6 days and graduate up to adult mice or a large weaner rat every 7-8 days as they grow. Many Rainbow Boa keepers would recommend that a hatchling Rainbow Boa should be introduced to rats at an early age, as it may be harder to offer rats once your rainbow boa is established on mice. Rats are a larger prey item than mice, so it is a more appropriate

multiple mice.

Do not feed your snake with live food, even a small mouse may bite or injure your snake. Shop brought frozen rodents are available from most pet shops or bought over the internet these can be thawed to room temperature and make an excellent all round food for your snake. Wild rodents carry parasites and should be avoided at all times.

Rainbow Boas, like all boids have sensory organs called heat pits, which greatly help them to find the radiant heat of their prey. It is useful to try and reheat your thawed rodent before offering it to your Rainbow Boa. One method is to place your rodent in a sandwich bag and lower into hot water for a few minutes.

Never handle your snake straight after a feed, as it will regurgitate its meal. It is recommended to leave for at least 48 hours before handling.

Be aware that

become obese in captivity. Regular monitoring of your

regulate the feedings accordingly.


Columbian Rainbow Boas, like all other snakes, shed

throughout their lives. Young snakes may shed more frequently than adult snakes, but in general the shedding process occurs several times a year. This is nothing to worry about as a keeper, but there are a few things you can do to help your snake through this process.

Preecdysis is the name given to the changes your snake will go through whilst preparing to shed it’s skin. This will include a dulling of your snake’s skin colour, general inactivity and their eyes will turn a bluish grey colour. At this time your hognose may refuse a feed or shy away from being handled, but this depends on the individual snake and how they handle preecdysis. While your snake is ’in blue’ it is advisable to handle with care as their vision is obscured by the membrane covering it’s eyes and they may feel more insecure than usual, therefore more likely to be defensive.

Ecdysis is the act of shedding, which is usually started by your snake rubbing it’s head on rocks or decor to loosen the skin around it’s head. Once it has worked it’s head free it will continue to crawl its way out of the old skin by rolling it inside out has it moves. Once your snake has shed it’s skin it should be removed from the vivarium along with

faeces that usually accompanies Ecdysis. Check your snake to ensure that the shed skin

successfully been removed, taking particular notice that the

retained. If necessary bathe your snake and remove any patches of skin that have not been shed with a warm towel or tweezers, to avoid infection or death of the tissue below it.


Columbian Rainbow Boas are quite active, but do not need huge enclosures. A medium to large sized vivarium (Even a fish tank with a tight fitting lid) will house your Rainbow Boa

should allow a minimum of 1 square foot of floor space to each foot of snake and be approximately a third of the snake’s length in height. Hatchlings should start out in an appropriately sized small vivarium or RUB (Really Useful Box) as they can become stressed and stop feeding in an oversized vivarium.

As Columbian Rainbow Boas are semi-arboreal, they may appreciate a little more height in their vivariums to accommodate climbing branches and plastic plants.

All Snakes are excellent escape artists, so care must be taken when planning their housing. Make sure your vivarium or tank has a tight fitting lid, which can be clamped down. Columbian Rainbow Boas are very strong and can push a loose fitting lid from a vivarium.

Columbian Rainbow Boas need to maintain a high humidity within their vivariums, so a glass tank or RUB (really useful box) may be more appropriate than a wooden vivarium. Wood tends to warp under the excess of moisture and mould and decay can be a problem.

Columbian Rainbow Boas will require their housing to be completely cleaned out on a weekly basis, due to the mould and bacteria build up caused by the high humidity.

Your Columbian Rainbow Boa’s Vivarium Should Contain:


There are various substrates you can choose to use in your Columbian Rainbow Boa’s Vivarium:

Orchid Bark Is a commonly used substrate for Rainbow Boas because it helps to retain moisture, which is useful for maintaining the humidity required within the vivarium.

Peat-Bark Mix Also retains a good humidity level, but is more in keeping

environment in the wild.

Cypress mulch This substrate is a good choice for high humidity vivariums, because it resists mould and decay.

Eco-Earth Can be bought in block form and it expands in water to make a rich, reptile safe soil bedding.

Hydroleca Balls This is not really a substrate, but these water retaining balls can be used under the substrate to help keep the humidity up.

Newspaper Is a cheap and easy to change substrate.

Heating Equipment

Columbian Rainbow Boas are cold blooded and get heat from their surroundings. In the wild snakes bask in the sun to keep warm or move to a shady spot if they are too hot, this is called thermo-regulation. The ideal temperature for you snake’s vivarium is a temperature gradient of 21-30°C (70-86°F).

Heat should be provided using either a heat mat with

thermostat and bulb guard or a normal light bulb with a dimming stat on the roof of the vivarium surrounded by a bulb guard.

Heat mats are more suited to smaller/younger snakes and should only cover between a third and a half of the floor space to allow your snake to thermo-regulate. This heat mat should be regulated by a thermostat to ensure that it does not overheat. Since a heat mat should provide sufficient heat to keep your Rainbow Boa happy, a basic mat stat, like the Microclimate Ministat 100 or the Habistat Mat Stat, should be appropriate. These thermostats are available from reptile shops and online, are relatively cheap, and will ensure the heat source is regulated at a safe level.

For larger adult Rainbow Boas a ceramic bulb or heater is more advisable, due to the risk of of thermal blocking (Where the shear weight of a large bodied snake causes hot spots on the heat mat due to the heat reflecting back from the vivarium floor and into the snake). Thermal blocking can cause severe burns when heat mats are used inside the vivarium. Heat mats do have their place if used under a RUB (Really useful box) or in a stack system, but MUST be used with a mat stat.

Thermal blocking can even cause glass vivariums

crack or


thermostat), which can cause serious damage if your snake comes into contact with the sharp glass. I would highly recommend a Ceramic bulb (with appropriate guard) and pulse thermostat for this reason and because they keep more accurate temperatures than most other heating methods.

A popular alternative to the heat mat is a normal light bulb on the roof of the vivarium surrounded by a guard. Rainbow Boas do not feel heat in the same way that we do and do not always realise that something they are touching is burning them. A bulb guard will ensure that your Rainbow Boa will stay a safe distance away from the heat of the bulb so burns will be avoided. Using a low wattage bulb means the tank will not over heat. The bulb also gives light for the owner to see their snake as well as heat for the snake. Extra care should be taken if you choose to use a bulb in your Brazilian Rainbow Boa’s vivarium, due to the high humidity that will be needed within the tank.

A ceramic bulb can be purchased from most reptile shops and is a good heat source for Rainbow Boas as it raises the ambient air temperature of the vivarium. Ceramic heaters must be used with both a pulse thermostat and a bulb guard. They can reach high temperatures and you should check the wattage of the ceramic before purchasing, as the wattage of the ceramic is dependant on the size of the vivarium you are trying to heat. Ceramic bulbs last longer than normal light bulbs and do not cause light-stress.

It’s useful when using both methods to have a small thermometer on either end of the vivarium to check the temperature. Place the thermometers near the hides on top of the substrate as this is where your Rainbow Boa will spend the majority of it’s time. One end should be around 21°C and the other

regularly is advised to ensure that your Rainbow Boa can thermo-regulate by moving around the tank. Place for your Columbian Rainbow Boa to Hide

All Columbian Rainbow Boas need somewhere to hide and

provided. This could be a cardboard box with a hole cut into it, which can be easily replaced

becomes soiled or begins to decay. Flower pots also make good


Specialist reptile hides can be purchased from pet shops and over the Internet. These can be cleaned when you clean the rest of the vivarium once a week.

Any hide should be just large enough for your Columbian Rainbow Boa to curl up in; if it is too large the snake will not feel as secure.

In general, it is wise to place three hides in your vivarium for your Columbian Rainbow Boa to use, one in the warm side of the vivarium and one in the cooler side and one should be a damp hide. This enables your snake to have adequate hiding places along the temperature gradient, which would allow your snake to adjust its body temperature. This is important, because for some Columbian Rainbow Boas, the instinct to hide is often more insistent than the instinct to keep at the right temperature. If the snake does not control his body temperature it can lead to many problems, the least of which being digestive problems.

A Place to Climb

Rainbow Boas are semi-arboreal

being able to climb, as it will keep them active and provide vital exercise.

Branches collected from the wild will need to be debugged

solution, then rinsed thoroughly, soaked in clean water, then left to dry in the sun. Some live plants may be harmful to your Columbian Rainbow Boa, if in doubt don’t use them in your Vivarium.

Repti-vine is widely available and may also be appreciated by your Columbian Rainbow Boa. This is safe to use, easy to clean and comes in a range of thicknesses to ensure that it is stable enough for your Rainbow Boa to climb upon.

A Change of Scenery


animals and

Once in a while change the layout of the Vivarium; this will keep your Columbian Rainbow Boa from becoming bored. You will notice once you put your snake back in the tank it will start to re-explore its new surroundings.

Water Bowl

All Columbian Rainbow Boas need fresh water to drink daily. Water should be given in a large sized bowl which

tipping it over.

The water

humidity levels up. If possible, provide a water bowl with a large surface area and place in the warm side of the vivarium.

Water can also help your snake during shedding at this time your snake may be found bathing in the water.

If the snake defecates in its water bowl, the bowl must be cleaned and disinfected immediately.


humidity, but adults can handle it a little lower than that. Aim for around 75-80 in adults, but a little



dehydrate if the humidity levels are not maintained, so it is

Hydrometer to monitor the humidity. Rainbow Boas can not handle humidity of less than 50%, as they are likely to dehydrate at this level.

There are a few ways of maintaining the correct humidity. One of these is to place the water bowl in the warm side of the vivarium. The bowl should have a large surface area to enhance the ability of evaporation.

You should also mist your vivarium a few times a day with water from a spray bottle.

A damp hide is another good way of maintaining the humidity. This can be a bought hide made for the purpose or simply a plastic sandwich box with a hole cut into the lid. Fill this hide with damp sphagnum moss, so that your Rainbow Boa always has a place to retreat if the humidity drops too low for them.

09/25/14  12:04pm


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  Message To: Wyland2222   In reference to Message Id: 2309923

 Posted the other day, but said wrong snake, need help with boa

Wyland, I would browse a few care sheets, other than the one already pasted in here, as that will answer a lot of your questions.


1. Plastic enclosures are best (Boaphile, Animal Plastics). Substrate should retain humidity and resist mold (coco husk, orchid bark, eco earth). Hides should be sized so the sanke feels secure, and at least one should be stuffed with damp moss. A water bowl large enough to soak in should be added.

2. Rainbows are nippy only when very young or not handled regularly. The species tames down fine with age and regular, gentle handling.

3. Aim for a gradient of 72F cool end to 82F warm end. Temps above 85F can be lethal. Undercage or radiant panels are best, in either case controlled by a quality thermostat.

4. Pizza and beer. All refusals should be sent to me. (OK, frozen/thawed rats are best, as large around as the snake is at its thickest point.)

5. Males about five feet, females six.

You are very welcome, and good luck!

Cliff Earle
Living Gems Reptiles
Premium Brazilian Rainbow Boas from a disease-tested facility
Website, Facebook

09/26/14  02:01pm


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  Message To: Snakesitter   In reference to Message Id: 2309961

 Posted the other day, but said wrong snake, need help with boa

Thank you, and I do plan to do more research, I figure the way I do things that I will read, get impute from those with them and research more, rofl, by 6 months or more I will maybe have decided if I want one or not :D

10/02/14  08:48am


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  Message To: Wyland2222   In reference to Message Id: 2310112

 Posted the other day, but said wrong snake, need help with boa

LOL! Well, good luck, and if you have any questions, you know where to find me. ;-)

10/02/14  01:38pm


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  Message To: Snakesitter   In reference to Message Id: 2310115

 Posted the other day, but said wrong snake, need help with boa

Still doing my research and still not sure about getting one :+) Ya gotta love research, you read so much and talk to so many ppl your head starts to spin, rofl
I will be back

10/09/14  02:19pm


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  Message To: Wyland2222   In reference to Message Id: 2310252

 Posted the other day, but said wrong snake, need help with boa

Just be aware that a lot of the talk on rainbows is wrong. As with any topic, it’s the people with bad experiences who post the most often -- usually, those who got bitey animals and never tamed them, or who never bother to earn their care requirements and lost them. :-(

I’m still here if needed.

Cliff Earle
Living Gems Reptiles
Premium Brazilian Rainbow Boas from a disease-tested facility
Website, Facebook

10/10/14  02:14pm

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