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Soon to buy my first boa

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  • [General Care] Soon to buy my first boa

    I have almost everything I need before I buy my first boa. I have even found someone with the Motley boa babies I've been looking for (August 2015, I didn't get a specific date). I need need other people's opinions on what I need left before I buy.

    My checklist:
    Cage: caulking setting and should be ready in the next 5 days.
    UTH: ready and waiting for thermostat before taping to the bottom.
    thermostat: in the mail and should arrive Thursday.
    thermometers and hydrometer
    ☑bedding: indented kraft paper.
    ☑climbing branch: going to file out a couple pointy bits but not sealed or anything.
    ☑snake hook and tongs
    f10 disinfectant: in the mail estimated 7 days
    ☑rubber thumbs for worse case scenario eye caps
    ☑bucket for thawing feeders.
    feeder source. I need help with this because most sources I've found online do minimum 50 and I don't know how fast baby boas grow up but I'm pretty sure they stop needing mice fuzzies and/or hoppers after 10 or so feedings. I'd hate to throw away those extra mice thinking they're lives were wasted by me. I found a source called LayneLabs which sell smaller quantities (and I know nothing about them)but I would ask someone how many I should get of each size would be what they think would be "standard" even though every snake grows at their own rate.
    (edit3: I'll stick with petco stocked "arctic mice" until it gets easier to predict... unless anyone has any objections. I hate supporting petco.)
    (Edit4: new local pet store sells them so I can use these until the baby gets bigger and easier to predict how much he will need. And they aren't petco.)
    ☑water bowl
    ☑lots of different hide shapes, sizes, and materials.

    Is there anything I'm missing?
    I was planning to buy in the next two or three weeks. I've been researching since March and I still think I'm missing something.

    Edit: About the branch, it was heat treated, it just hasn't been sealed.


    Edit2: I added a couple things I forgot to the list.

    Edit3: updated list

    Edit4: updating again

    Edit5: I now have everything.

  • #2
    Re: Soon to buy my first boa

    About the Disinfectant: Don't use LYSOL anywhere on or near reptiles as it is toxic to them.

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    • #3
      Re: Soon to buy my first boa

      Originally posted by TammyJam View Post
      Don't use LYSOL
      Understood. That is why I'll only be using F10SC because from what I've read about it, it seems to be the least risky. That'll be arrive Thursday. My cage has finished drying early and some other things came in early. I'm updating my check list now.

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      • #4
        Re: Soon to buy my first boa

        I've heard less than nice comments about Petco's frozen feeders, though I admit that's only "hearsay". But on this & other forums, this is a common topic (who sells quality feeders etc). (I don't buy them, I raise my own)
        Your list looks pretty complete from where I sit, except maybe for bandages & tourniquets...(just kidding!) You'll want to heat the cage for several days before anyone moves in...just to test it out. And make sure you
        cannot smell ANYthing from caulk or anything else that's still drying & off-gassing. Always better to "error on the side of caution", since our snakes are so much smaller & so much more sensitive than we are...and they
        cannot easily show their discomfort.

        Cage disinfectants: F10SC is good (& safe), so is Nolvasan (or generic chlorhexidine). Bleach (even fumes) is toxic to snakes also, so while it's effective, never use it on porous materials, as the smell will linger. Another
        handy thing for cage wiping & water bowl cleaning (removes hard water deposits!) is plain old white vinegar. (it does, of course, need completely rinsed from the cage & all)

        That's pretty exciting, getting ready for your first boa! I wish everyone did as much planning & research as you've done.

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        • #5
          Re: Soon to buy my first boa

          Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
          You'll want to heat the cage for several days before anyone moves in...just to test it out. And make sure you
          cannot smell ANYthing from caulk or anything else that's still drying & off-gassing.
          Will do for the testing. I know the day time temperature will be fine, it is the night temp which will have to be monitored. (without heat or water bowl added already at 74 and 53% humidity at 11 PM. Yay, Florida) As for the smell... I cannot smell much of anything. I have a friend who will stick their head in the cage tomorrow to tell me if they smell anything. lol

          I didn't know about white vinegar. I'll keep that in mind.

          I'm hesitant about using petco frozen feeders because I just know so many things they do wrong and I don't want to support them. The problem with the online vendors is that they sell in bulk much larger than I'll need for a growing boa (to my knowledge) and I don't want to waste baby mice. There is a new pet supply store which opened just down the street. I'll check them out to see what they have. Petco is the only store which sells them within 60 minutes driving distance. I don't favor the chances of frozen foods surviving an hour drive in my (black)car without a really good cooler and dry ice which I do not have.

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          • #6
            Re: Soon to buy my first boa

            I used layne labs for years they have good stock I'd definitely grab from them.Forget the thermometer and do yourself a favor by getting a temp gun, a must have in my opinion.

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            • #7
              Re: Soon to buy my first boa

              White vinegar is an old-time remedy to get odors (& some stains) out of laundry, and any grocery store will have it, too.

              I've used caulk (silicone sealant) before & it will feel firm but still may off-gas some irritating (vinegar-like) fumes. Pre-heating the cage should help that process along.

              I understand about availability of feeders, though if you ask around, you might be able to split a shipment with others. (have you ever searched for a local herp club?)

              And btw, I've heard very good reviews of Loxahatcheerodents.com (in Florida! in case you're anywhere near them?)

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              • #8
                Re: Soon to buy my first boa

                Originally posted by jere000 View Post
                temp gun, a must have in my opinion.
                I have one that I use for everything. Problem is that it can't measure the air temp... only surface. My temp gun and thermometers agree in temperature in the cage currently so I know the thermometers are accurate.

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                • #9
                  Re: Soon to buy my first boa

                  Originally posted by acephantom903 View Post
                  I have one that I use for everything. Problem is that it can't measure the air temp... only surface. My temp gun and thermometers agree in temperature in the cage currently so I know the thermometers are accurate.
                  Call me old-fashioned, but I like & use the vintage-type thermometers (designed for wall-household use)...just NOT the super-cheapie thermometers they often sell in pet-stores, those are very inaccurate.
                  And they are far more reliable than the Ryobi temp. gun I bought, I'm sorry to say....

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                  • #10
                    Re: Soon to buy my first boa

                    Originally posted by acephantom903 View Post
                    Understood. That is why I'll only be using F10SC because from what I've read about it, it seems to be the least risky. That'll be arrive Thursday. My cage has finished drying early and some other things came in early. I'm updating my check list now.
                    Just my $0.02 for what it's worth, but when you run out of the F10SC you can use watered down Listerine. A 50/50 blend works great and you can pick the flavor of your choosing to get the scent you desire
                    "An increase in reptile education can lead to a decrease in reptile discrimination." - Bebo

                    sigpic

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                    • #11
                      Re: Soon to buy my first boa

                      Originally posted by bebowebb View Post
                      A 50/50 blend works great and you can pick the flavor of your choosing to get the scent you desire
                      That would be great if I could smell. lol I'm literally using other people as canaries because I can't smell any fumes.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Soon to buy my first boa

                        Alright, I now have everything and according to my canary (friend) there are no fumes and the only smells are the paper and the climbing branch.

                        I have it set to keep the cool end ambient temperature at 82 degrees (room ambient 80 degrees) but doing that the hot spot is only 85 during the day with 58% humidity. I didn't get an accurate measure last night because I was messing with the thermostat trying to get it figured out. I'll update this post with the night temperatures when I figure out the average.

                        Does anyone have any ideas how to get the hot spot to 90 without making the ambient heat too warm?

                        Update1: At 15:30, the A/C kicked on dropping the room temp to 77 and the hot spot climbed to 90 to and the cool side remained at 82. Would a couple hours of the hot spot being 85 be a bad thing?

                        Update2: At 19:00 after the A/C has been on for a couple hours (ambient room temp still 77) the cool side is at 82 still and the hot spot is 102. I'm pretty sure that is bad.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Soon to buy my first boa

                          Originally posted by acephantom903 View Post
                          ... Would a couple hours of the hot spot being 85 be a bad thing?
                          Nope, very comfy for a boa. A ball python would find that too cool, but in my experience boas prefer a high temp. of 85-88*.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Soon to buy my first boa

                            My thermostat's probe is about an inch and a half above the hot spot... should I move it closer to reduce the hot spot temperature? I imagine that will lower the cool side air temperature.

                            Update: I lowered the night temperature so it is going to get to 76 degrees ambient temp on the cool side and 78 degrees on the warm side with a hot spot of 88 degrees by the time 22:00. Is this an acceptable night time range?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Soon to buy my first boa

                              I think you're fine...the BCI I had for many years often chose the cool side @ 75*, and as long as you have an optional warmer area available should they want it, that'll work.

                              I heated about 2/3 of the cage floor with 11" wide Flexwatt (UTH) and built a huge hide box that sat over the heated side of cage; this helped to contain the heat in the hidebox, and as needed, I also used lights*
                              overhead for additional warmth. I had to adjust for seasonal changes (house colder in winter) but she seemed very comfortable with those options, using the top of the hide box to bask, inside the box for heat +
                              privacy, and the other end of the cage whenever she wanted to be cooler. *I used incandescent bulbs to give both light & warmth; most snakes appreciate dim lighting & I found that red or black bulbs worked best.
                              (black bulbs give very little light, like moonlight...so they can be used at night; keep in mind though that while lights add some heat, they aren't very efficient, since much of their heat rises away from the cage.)

                              I would also suggest that you observe your own individual snakes to see if they seem comfortable & use all the areas. If they are always huddled at the warmest spot, they might need more heat...and if they never
                              use it, it's probably too hot.

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