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before buying questions

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  • [Purchasing] before buying questions

    hey everyone.

    im going to be checking out a boa in about two weeks that im planning on purchasing if all goes well. [she'll be my first boa! ]

    i have been researching boas for a while and im not a complete noob lol. im just wondering if you guys can put in your two cents on what i should check and keep an eye out for to make sure she is healthy or even some questions to ask the owner.


  • #2
    Re: before buying questions

    Look at the setup the owner is using. Does it have a solid top? Is there a thermometer and humidity guage in the cage? Is the cage being kept at the proper temp/humidity? What substrate are they using?

    Then look at the snake, check the eyes for unshed eyecaps, also check the tip of the tail. Is there mucus coming out of the nose, is the snake hissing when it breathes? How does the snake move? It should be fluid and when it wraps around you it should have a strong grip. If the snake is herky jerky or weak you might want to look elsewhere. Is the body close to a square shape and muscular, round and fat, or skinny and emaciated. Ask the owner if he has been feeding F/T or live, and what he's been using for food. Also ask how often he's been feeding the snake.

    If all that checks out, you should have a happy healthy snake that will adjust well when you bring it home. I'm sure other people will think of some things I missed but those are the things I look for when I have the chance to look at the snake in person before buying it.


    • #3
      Re: before buying questions

      where are you getting him from?


      • #4
        Re: before buying questions

        im getting her from a private owner. she's owned her since she as 6 months old. she's now 3 1/2 and 5-5 1/2 ft long.

        from the questions ive asked she's being kept in a 48 gallon bow front tank at 85F. Im not sure about humidity and substrate.

        from the pictures ive seen of her she looks lean and muscular, of course i'll be able to tell better in person. she is feeding her F/T, which the boa takes without problem. she's eating large rats. and somehow i forgot to ask how often she feeds lol. she also said that the boa sheds in one piece and she hasn't had a problem with that.

        i'll try to post some pictures and answers to those questions.


        • #5
          Re: before buying questions

          Make sure this boa is a Key West boa also. lol


          • #6
            Re: before buying questions

            One other thing you are purchasing correct ?

            OK is the Boa being purchased along with the Bow front tank ?

            The reason I ask is that you are better just getting the Boa

            Don't buy the tank you can use a large rubbermaid type container
            until you make arrangements for a good caging system.
            AKA Boaphile Plastics type cage

            Other postyers have covered health questions

            Like checking the mouth to make certain there is no mucous or crusty
            discharge problem.

            Make certain the teeth are not growing crooked or funny
            (Like bent out wards growing crooked out of the mouth a sign of Stomatitis )

            Check the Cloaca for inflammation or any crustiness or discharge

            Lar M
            Boas By Klevitz



            • #7
              Re: before buying questions

              i wish lol. im happy to settle with a pastel het. albino...for now. xD

              and yes. im just purchasing the snake alone. and i'll be keeping her in a large rubbermaid tub until her permanent cage is built.


              • #8
                Re: before buying questions

                also check for mites! they can be hard to spot if there aren't many of them, but there WILL be many if there aren't now! check under the chin, near the cloaca, as well as in the waterbowl. read this article about them: The Life History of Snake Mites | Vida Preciosa International, Inc.

                do they have other boas?

                how's THEIR health?


                • #9
                  Re: before buying questions

                  i always check for wheezing stringy saliva and mites. most other things can be obvious like star gazing and weird activity. good luck on your purchase. make sure to post some pics of her.


                  • #10
                    Re: before buying questions

                    ah yes..mites.those evil little things. lol. a friend of mine had a bad case of mites when he rescued his albino calico retic.

                    and i'll post pics as soon as i can :]


                    • #11
                      Re: before buying questions

                      Originally posted by misspeachesx View Post
                      a friend of mine had a bad case of mites when he rescued his albino calico retic.
                      did the mites then spread to the snake?


                      • #12
                        Re: before buying questions

                        haha. pretty much. he wasn't too happy about being put into quarantine xP


                        • #13
                          Re: before buying questions

                          Ask about the snake's shedding: has it been shedding in all one piece, have the sheds been complete... if they have the last one handy ask to see it. This will let you know if the eye caps shed or not as well as any other problem areas.

                          Check for mites. On a boa these can be hard to pick out at first because of their coloring and freckles. The buggers usually congregate around the eyes, in the cleft underneath the lower jaw (can't remember the name of the cleft at the moment... sorry), the vent, and they will be easier to see lodged between belly scales. You will probably be able to see them crawling on the snake (if the infestation is bad enough).

                          Check the boa's belly for sores or raw spots. This can be from being kept on substrate that's too wet.

                          Ask to see their data sheets/cards. Any reptile keeper worth their snuff (breeder or not) will have data cards or sheets showing dates of feedings, bowel movements, passing of urates, sheds, or medical issues. This will give you a clear idea of the snake’s schedules.

                          Ask about aggression. Older snakes are harder to break of this if they haven't been tamed well as juveniles. ...But then some snakes are just born grumpy, so even with lots of handling they are just snappy.


                          • #14
                            Re: before buying questions

                            her owner says she does shed in one piece.

                            and a quick question about mites. i know that when my friend's snakes got them, they looked like tiny black flecks. are all mites that color? or do they differ? and if they do differ are some species more problematic or hard to get rid of?

                            and she is handled everyday from what the owner says and she hasn't hissed and struck at anyone.


                            • #15
                              Re: before buying questions

                              There are many different species of mite that will affect reptiles, but the most common is Ophionyssus natricis - the "Snake Mite".

                              The mites can be black, red or gray, and this depends on their age and if they've been feeding. Adult mites are black, and recently fed mites are a deep dark red, and gray mites are usually juveniles. However, the youngen's are hard to spot due to size and their coloring. ...Hatchling mites are white, but they are too small to spot with the naked eye.