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Do big boas need hides?

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  • [Housing] Do big boas need hides?

    So to start off, I got my 5ft Colombian girl in a 4x2 Pro-Line with a hide which is 1.5ftx1.5ft on he cool side of her cage. On her hot side she just has a flat rock under her RHP. My question is does she need a cool side hide? I don't have a hot side hide and she really doesn't seem to care. When she wants to get warm, she just crawls over to the warm side and usually just sprawls out under the RHP. sometimes she will curl up on a ball under it. The cool side has the box but it takes up so much room that she cant really stretch out on the cool side so my question is, does a larger boa even need hides at that size? I know small ones do and when she was a baby she had 2 hides but now that she is big, she really doesn't seem to miss the warm side hide at all. I don't want to stress her out with no hide though. A lot of times I leave her door open and she will sit with her head resting on the litter dam and sit there for hours. Other times she wants out and she will crawl on the table to the side or crawl up my arm when I open the door. But again, I'm just wondering if 5ft+ boas need hides at that size?

  • #2
    Re: Do big boas need hides?

    My biggest girl is almost 6 ft. She has a warm side hide, and uses it almost every day.

    Many keepers choose not to provide hides for their boas for a variety of reasons. Many keepers have large collections with rack systems, and providing hides for 50+ animals simply isn't practical. Do their boas suffer because of this? No, I don't believe they do. On that basis, boas of any size don't really need hides, given that their enclosures provide enough security that the animals don't feel stressed. Granted, keepers of large collections like this also have perfect or near-perfect husbandry. Their temperatures don't fluctuate, their humidity is perfect. I think the reason their animals aren't stressed despite not having access to hides is partly because of this.

    That said, I provide hides for all my boas, regardless of size. My biggest girl has almost outgrown her current hide, and I'm having another, larger one made by a company that creates fake fiberglass rocks for outdoor pools and ponds.

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    • #3
      Re: Do big boas need hides?

      Ah ok. Yeah I keep mine at steady temps, humidity and security since its a Pro-Line cage and keeps heat, humidity and covered on 3 sides and the top. She doesn't seem stressed and actually is the most laid back snakes I've ever had. Like I said, most of the time I leave the door open and she will sit with her face on the litter dam for hours and I can walk by and pet her head and body and she just flicks her tongue and goes back into relax mode once she smells its me im assuming. Guess i'll try the no hide on cool side as well and see if she starts showing sign of stress at least until I get her the 5ft or 6ft Pro-Lines later on. I just cant picture her stressing though as even as an 16 inch or so baby when I got her, she was relaxed and curious even back then.

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      • #4
        Re: Do big boas need hides?

        I think it depends entirely on the boa. My biggest girl has one hide and she puts it where she wants it. She rarely uses it, mostly when she first starts going into shed but most of the time she sprawls the entire length of the enclosure. She had two hides when she was younger and considerably smaller but now she rearranges the 'furniture' to her liking. I also use aspen for everyone except the babies or QT animals and they like to burrow in it so that saves me putting hides in.
        http://berkeleyknebel.wix.com/mississippimorphs

        Photo credit:Eddie Ard .....Banner Credit:Big PaPa Ernest

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        • #5
          Re: Do big boas need hides?

          I'm not an expert but I was strongly recommended by the seller not to provide her with any hide, he says that even if on the net you can find everywhere people saying that they need it, it actually makes them much more territorial and aggressive. He had all the interest in selling me a hide, so I guess he was sincere... I don't mean to criticize who does it, I'm not expert enough but I'll tell you that in another forum I was given a lot of wrong informations, for example there was a lot of people worried about how much I was handling her, while on the contrary her taming program is working superwell and I really feel like we're building a very good relationship. She trusts me a lot now, she's not scared anymore, hanging to any decoration to avoid being taken out and that kind of things. On the other hand the seller said a branch is not necessary... idea I find really strange, she's got two in fact and she has climbed on them many times. ^^
          I agree with Zamora, I think that if there are so many different opinions it's just because it depends on the animal, on the setup and many other personal factors.

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          • #6
            Re: Do big boas need hides?

            Need? I don't know. Like? Most seem to. My biggest boas don't have one, but I'm not opposed to using one.


            -Sean in NoCal
            “Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood – the virtues that made America.”
            -Teddy Roosevelt.

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            • #7
              Re: Do big boas need hides?

              Mine all have hides, they all use them, and I've not noticed any difference in it making them more territorial or aggressive.

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              • #8
                Re: Do big boas need hides?

                i have a cool side and warm side hide with belly heat and a RHP above a shelf. Daily my boa will bask under the RHP under the shelf , but after meals she will go to the warm side hide for the belly heat for a few days and to the cool side hide most other times. She does get agro if i move her hide and try to pick her up , usually have to remove the hide and let her sit for 5 minutes to wake up before handling .

                I use this 3$ at wal mart Sterilite 18-Qt Dishpan, Black - Walmart.com upside down with a hole in the side , cheap and great hide and fine for a 6 ft boa.

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                • #9
                  Re: Do big boas need hides?

                  Thanks all. I was mostly just concerned about the space as the 4x2 cage with the hide just didn't seem to leave a lot of room for her to stretch out. I took out her hide and she seems fine actually. She is curled up on the cool side sleeping. She was mellow with the hides, never territorial or pissy with them. I too use about 3 inches of aspen as the substrate.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Do big boas need hides?

                    Mine use their hides it all depends on the snake and owner

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                    • #11
                      Re: Do big boas need hides?

                      <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

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                      • #12
                        Re: Do big boas need hides?

                        I think so... now I know there are some snakes that "never use theirs" but maybe that's because for one reason or another, the hides in question aren't quite right? Too lightweight, too large/small? etc...

                        The only big boa I've kept was a BCI that grew to 7.5'+ with me in 12 years (she is still growing, with her 'new' owners) and she always used her hides. When she outgrew the largest heavy-plastic one I had,

                        I built her one with wood sides (coated to repell moisture) & tile-board top, and with 2 side-by-side doors at one end, to make going in & out easier. This 'hide' took up more than half (about 3/5) of her floor space

                        and was very stable. I also kept a carpet-mat with rubberized backing on the top so it was completely non-slip...the more user-friendly you make their hides, the better they like & use them, IMO. Instead of a large

                        hide that took up a lot of space, this kind of hide is the equivalent of a second floor or a large 'loft'. (it was also as wide as her cage) She was comfortable basking on the top of it...she felt secure going inside as well.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Do big boas need hides?

                          Yeah mine used the top of her hide mostly when she was looking for food as she crawled around a lot. She used the hide but not really like a hide per say. She would put her body in there and leave her head out looking out the door. When I would open her door during the evening when I am home, she would actually either put her head on the litter dam and sit there for hours or she would come out of her hide and lay stretched out the length of the cage along the litter dam and turn her head so it sat on the dam. She seems to really like to sit with her head hanging out and having it petted which is funny for a snake. I guess she is a weird snake but she prefers to stretch out. When I put her my bed or on the couch, she will just stretch out. Now my ball python LOVES her plastic blue bowl hide which is too small for her and sits on her like a turtle shell when she pokes her head out and relaxes lol. If I ever took that away from her, she would probably kill me if she got the chance :P

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                          • #14
                            Re: Do big boas need hides?

                            Lol, the stories about ball python's shyness are true.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Do big boas need hides?

                              My boa is up to 45lbs now, so I just throw a towel over the cool side, covering half the door. She usually "chills" on the cool side anyway. She's really relaxed either way... But doing this or even taping some dark paper over part of the door should have a similar effect. It's obviously not as good as an actual hide, but offers some sense of security/privacy.

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