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Boa subspecies ID? (long story)

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  • Boa subspecies ID? (long story)

    Hi guys - long story, so skip to the end if you just want to help with the ID!
    I am an extremely new snake owner who knew ZERO about reptiles until about three months ago. A friend of mine was moving out of the country for an undetermined period of time; she remembered I liked her snakes, and asked if I wanted them! I, knowing nothing, agreed. She gave me 2 balls and 1 boa all together in one 40gal breeder with one hide and no hide big enough for the biggest ball. She told me "they're the easiest pets in the world, just feed them every two weeks and scoop out the poop!" The boa and one ball were both shedding in strips when I got them.

    Needless to say, after starting to do some research, I COMPLETELY redid their living spaces; the boa is now in his own tub with much higher temp and humidity and is MUCH happier, and the balls have been re-housed as well. The balls are pretty much a no-brainer except when they get picky about eating, but the boa has me a little worried for future housing.

    I was given this snake, told that he was a 4.5 year old male "boa constrictor" and no further info. I started googling "boa constrictor" and, unaware that there were so many different subspecies, assumed he was a regular Colombian Red Tail boa and would get HUGE!!!
    However, upon reading and learning more about the different types of boas, I think maybe he's some sort of dwarf boa, or a different species maybe? He is 4.5 years old and 4 1/2 feet long (I measured his most recent shed). He's not very big around, and is currently eating weanling rats. I'm not sure how to embed pictures or links (first post here) so sorry about that - but here's a link to an album of him!

    Sorry if it's a pic overload! I've looked up different subspecies of boas, but just don't know enough to make a sure ID, and therefore to know how big he is likely to get!! I'm not super concerned about knowing the specifics for breeding purposes, more for being able to read more about temperament, husbandry needs, and how big he should be for what he is.
    Thanks so much in advance for all the help. I've been learning a bunch

  • #2
    Re: Boa subspecies ID? (long story)

    Download this guide for your Boa.

    To me it looks like a normal columbian red tail BCI boa with maybe a little Suriname because of the head pattern.

    I think he might need bigger food. I have a hard time telling how big he is from the pictures but it looks like he should be on a single medium rat by now. It should leave a nice lump in his body up to 12 hours after feeding. Not a huge lump, but one you can see. To achieve that, the food should be about the same thickness as the thickest part of the snake's body. I'm not saying bump his food size up right away. Work him up. Also feed frozen thaw or fresh killed because mice and rats can easily injure your snake if it decides to fight back.
    Let me put it this way: My 3 month old baby is about 23-25" and I'm about to move him to "medium mice" which are similar in size to a fuzzy rat which is one size smaller than the weanling rats.

    For housing, a 4'x2'x1.5' is a good minimum size for an adult male boa. It is possible they might out grow it or you can give them more if you like to. I honestly have a 4'x2'x1' which I originally intended to last a life time but missing that extra 6" of height makes it hard to get in and out when cleaning or when Buddy decides he doesn't want to come out.

    I'm not much help with Ball pythons because I have never researched them seriously. Only thing I really know is that they should be housed individually. Most snakes people keep as pets are anti-social. They feel like they have to compete for hides, water, basking, etc. when kept together.

    Male boas (BCI) usually get to be around 6-7' and 15-20 pounds. It is possible for them to get larger if you feed them a lot, but that isn't the best for their health.
    Other than being smaller than normal, your boa looks healthy. Not skinny, not fat. Lean and mean.

    And I don't think you can ever have too many pictures. We love pictures of snakes here.