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  • [General Care] Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

    I don't know if my anxiety is just at its peak today or what but I am feeling very overwhelmed with Dolly. It's really starting to hit me how big she is going to get and how long she is going to live. Are your adults friendly? Do you ever fear handling them alone? I know they are docile snakes but as I said, just feeling a little overwhelmed today. She is pet only and I'm just wondering if I should be looking into a smaller boa (though still around 5-6ft) or if I really will be okay with her. Again, not sure if this is legitimate or my anxiety.

    Thank you,
    Ox.

  • #2
    Re: Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

    You'd be a fool if you WEREN'T concerned, IMO. It shows that you have some good sense!

    The only large boa I've kept was a rescue that no one wanted. She was a very defensive (biter!) yearling that I was sure I could help. In a short time w/ me, she was fine, but of course by then I adored her. I hoped
    she wouldn't grow super-large but had no way of knowing. Some boas do stay smaller, but of course, the females (like her) usually get larger by comparison. She was a dependable sweetheart & in 12 years, I never
    had even one bite, nor anything remotely like a squeeze. She loved being handled (cuddled!) & only resisted going back in her cage. She stayed around 5-6' for a long time, but finally did put on more weight & length,
    reaching 7.5'...at which point I decided it would be best if she lived nearby with a younger couple I know that love big boids; I had no concern about her trying to harm me, but I do have issues with my neck, so her
    size & wt. as well as my age, were just not a great mix, especially since many of my snakes live very long lives! I love this boa (BCI), but she is in good hands (& I have "visitation" hahahaha!). So that is my personal
    story & the choices I've made. I have some 6' snakes but they are colubrids, nothing heavy-bodied like the boas. We all have to figure out our own "comfort level", & fortunately they grow slowly so we have time to
    really know each other. For safety, it's recommended that you have additional ppl on hand to help with a large snake...those 6-8' or so (depending on YOUR size, strength & experience). The best time to consider the
    future though is before you get that adorable "little" boa... I never wanted a big boa...but a homeless rescue that was hysterically biting everyone & everything was not something I could turn away from. I hope this
    helps?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

      I did want a big boa but now that I've had her for a while, I'm getting anxious. I'm wondering if I shouldn't be looking into finding her a more appropriate home and maybe purchasing a male dumerils or hog island. I don't mind a 5-6 ft snake but I am moderately concerned about having something larger than my husband who isn't all that into reptiles, let alone my short, thin self. He also goes away for work for months at a time now, which wasn't the case when I purchased her, either. Not to mention the bite I took the other day. While it didn't phase me in the least, it really made me realize the dangers of large boids. She is an absolutely sweet snake and I definitely don't want to stray from sweet boids, but I definitely have some thinking to do. I'd love more input on this as well, my mind is far from set and I have at least until March before it's going to be anywhere near warm enough here for shipping.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

        I do understand...and you'll have to make your own decision, of course. I've been heavily involved with snakes for literally decades, and for 20 years worked hots alone too, without problems...and you aren't "supposed
        to" do that either. But hots take planning & smarts, not strength & size, and I was never uncomfortable among them...not one bit. (I'm not the biggest lady around either, lol!)

        Hog Islands can get pretty big too, incidentally. They started out somewhat smaller, but they don't always "follow the rules". Please keep in mind that snakes can be very stressed by "re-homing"...while it's much less
        obvious (than other types of pets) there were some articles about the much higher mortality among snakes that are re-homed, even when it's to better conditions, and shipping carries inherent risks too. Nothing like a
        bite to erode some confidence, & I'm glad you have time to think it over carefully. We all have different comfort levels...pity you have a female boa too. There are dwarf boas around but often they are not as mellow
        as the larger boas...it's so unfair!?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

          You always have to be prepared for the worst... If it was a bite that got you nervous, you have to anticipate future bites from your soon to larger boa. But only you know what is best... Don't be discouraged by a bite... You wouldn't give up a puppy or kitten that was biting right? You would work with your pet to correct the problem. Snakes are comparatively simple... the aren't as complicated as most domestic animals. Usually when we get bitten, it's our own fault.

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          • #6
            Re: Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

            I know the bite was my fault - I brought her into the bathroom for a bath with the water still pounding out of the faucet. I was bit within moments of entering the room. Regardless, it's not something that ever crossed my mind would bother her until it happened. I have a loud 2 year old, a puppy, a traveling husband, I have a lot to consider. At the moment I am leaning towards rehoming her (most likely on here) and purchasing a baby boa of a different sex and species. I think another thing putting me off on her is the size I purchased her at. I didn't get to bond with a tiny 1ft boa, I had to start off with a 3.5ft boa that hadn't been in the best of homes and was moved around a lot. I'm one of those people who is pretty compelled to raise their animals all the way from newborn, I like the bond it forms and I have difficulty doing otherwise. I thought we would do good together, then I started getting bad vibes and stopped handling her for a few weeks, the vibes passed and within days of handling again I was bitten. While I am not worried she is going to eat my daughter, my daughter gets very excited about the reptiles and wants to pet them - now with Dolly I have the thought of her biting out of nowhere in the back of my head. When I let my daughter pet her, I usually keep the snakes upper body in one hand, and lower body in the other and only let her stroke the center but regardless, Dolly IS capable of turning around. Though now I'm rambling, just trying to voice what's going through my head at the moment.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

              I have owned boas for 40 years now and I have only been bitten by 12 to 15 boas and only 4 where from adult boas. All bites where my fault and only needed to be cleaned and a few band aids. All but two where feeding response bites.

              Most boas will be tamer than your family dog. They are just like people only a few are really mean so you just have to be careful around them. LOL If you buy a baby boa and let it grow up with you it will know your scent. In time boas will learn human scent is not a threat. Boas know we are not a food idem as we are to big for them to eat, they see us a predator and just want to defend them self's when threatened. Most of my boas are very tame and I trust them around me and my family. I have even let some of my bigger boas and retics sit and wrap around my dogs. Well the boas will sit there but the retics just slither right over them and keep checking out the room. My dogs seem for the most part ok with the snakes but you can tell they would rather not have the boas wrapped around there head. LOL My dogs live in the same room as my snakes so the snakes know the dogs scent is not a threat or food.

              Boas can scenes fear and aggression just like all animals so if you are uneasy around your boas it to will feel uneasy and may bit you or someone out of fear. Most adult boas will tame down rather quickly but sometimes it may take 6 months or more to earn there trust. Your boa will tame down in time and be fine with you so don’t give up. You may want to put your shirt or sock you have worn all day in the cage with your boas as this will help it learn your scent is not a threat.

              I know adult boas are much stronger than any human but they will not squeeze you to kill you they are only trying to feel safe around you. Accidents can happen if you scare or startle a boa if you are holding it around your neck. If a boa gets to tight around your neck it doesn't take very long for you to pass out or worse. So you should always have one shoulder over your boa this way they can’t strangle you by accident. I myself am guilty of holding boas around my neck but I feel I can read my snakes attitudes very well after all these years and they are much calmer around me than with other people.

              In my opinion any person with a positive attitude and the proper care of any boa can successfully keep any size boa for a pet. I even do educational programs with my boas and retics for the library's and schools around my home town and I always let people hold and touch my snakes if they want to with out any problems. I even get some non snake friendly people to change there minds on how they feel about snakes for the better.

              Take care
              Tom

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              • #8
                Re: Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

                See, now looking at some of the goofy pictures of Dolly and I as well as reading that, Tom, I'm torn again. I will most definitely be taking time to think about this because I do love all of her quirks. Maybe she needs a new name and a fresh start. I've been thinking about changing her name and moving her bin for a little bit now. I am going to give her every chance I can before I ever decide to rehome her, I'm not one to give up on an animal. I am also just getting used to relaxing again now that I have a dog around.* Should I do anything to get her used to me smelling like dog? She hasn't been around one to my knowledge. Again, thank you all for the advice - I am extremely glad that I joined this forum. It's really helped a lot and I plan on contributing soon.

                * I do suffer from c-ptsd and anxiety w/ panic disorders. They can inhibit my better judgement and put me into "fight or flight" mode quite easily, hence the explanations regarding my anxiety in the first post.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

                  If you do the t shirt trick the dog hair will be on it to so your boa should get use to both smells. Just be careful around the dog when you have the boa out. I have a few smaller boas that don’t like my dogs still and when they can see them they get defensive. With you medical problem I would first make sure you are comfortable with your boa before you get anyone or your dog use to your boa.

                  Big boas can be a safe and fun pet for your family here are a few pictures of my kids with are pet over the years and a link to my educational show pictures.

                  Reptile Educational Shows 1


















                  Take care
                  Tom

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

                    I have 2 dogs that are fairly active & playful...but they know words & hand signals (like 'wait!' & 'down'). When I had my large BCI out I made them keep their distance most of the time so as not to startle my boa,
                    but when all were calm I let them sniff her tail-end (with me gently holding -restraining- her head just "in case") so they could satisfy their curiousity & accept her presence. I was going to say the same as Tom, to
                    put a shirt you've worn with both your scent & the dogs into the snake's cage for a while. And children need to be taught to respect the snake & listen to you, keeping their distance if & when you say so. Your
                    snake isn't that big yet, I think you have plenty of time to work with her, as if you'd had her all along. And bathing her is NOT necessary & obviously stressful...snakes are deaf but they feel the vibrations & notice
                    the different smells in a bathroom...I've even had one snake (NOT a boa) that panicked & nipped because he was startled when I walked past a mirror...so if your snake is truly dirty from defecating in the cage, you
                    might want to do a sponge-bath instead. Bathtubs scare many snakes because of the loss of traction too, and if she needs to soak for a shedding issue, put a laundry tub of water in her cage instead...let her do it.
                    Even WE don't like to be forced into things, when you stop & think about it. Neither does a snake. But the longer they know us, they do get very trusting, in my experience. Yours hasn't yet had enough time &
                    contact with you to feel safe yet...snakes are shy by nature. I hope you'll be patient...it's a very satisfying feeling to help an animal overcome their trust issues & really join your family. It just takes some time.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

                      Maybe I'll just add a male dumerils to my collection come spring so I have a snake that will be a much more manageable size for handling while my husband is away. I'm not worried about my daughter not being respectful, I was worried about mistakes that may result in her getting bitten. But you are all right, I should be able to prevent that. Our dog is 10 weeks old and we just got her Sunday so she doesn't know many commands yet but we're working on it. I do feel much better now and am far less worried. I really needed to figure out what I was going to do and how I was going to get over this and I am pretty content now. I've been looking at permanent enclosures for her all morning. Once again, thank you all. You prove again and again to be an enormous help.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

                        Nothing whatsoever wrong with airing your honest feelings...always better to talk about it. Yeah, that's why we're here...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

                          Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
                          Nothing whatsoever wrong with airing your honest feelings...always better to talk about it. Yeah, that's why we're here...
                          Well said!

                          On Dums though, while they are shorter in length than BCI, they are naturally very thick, heavy-bodied snakes. If they were canines they would be comparable to bulldogs. My adult Dums are definitely stronger than my BCI of the same length, though they are not as quick and less flighty and active when being held. They're more likely to find a comfortable position and stay put - but they are handful while they get themselves settled. So, if you're worried about handling an adult-sized snake don't just look at it's overall length, consider how thick and heavy it will eventually get.

                          If you want to stay in the BCI world, look at the dwarf localities like Tarahumaras and Sonoras, which top out at 4.5' for males and just under 6' for females. They tend to be more defensive when young but my adults have the same typically calm BCI demeanor as their larger cousins.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

                            That is a beautiful retic..
                            sigpicJrock23

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Do you ever find yourself getting overwhelmed with your boa?

                              Originally posted by OxMaiden View Post
                              Maybe I'll just add a male dumerils to my collection come spring so I have a snake that will be a much more manageable size for handling while my husband is away.
                              I would get use to the BCI you have now before you get yourself a Dumeril. Also Dumerils do get big my two adults are 11 years old and 7 foot long and 30 lbs each. I have talked to another breeder at the NARBC show and his two Dumerils are bigger than mine. My two Dumerils are very strong and they both squeeze very hard when holding on to me when I have them out. They are tame and have never showed any aggression with me but they are a snake you need to be careful with. I was doing a educational show a few years ago with my son and the female Dumeril got startled by some kids and constricted my son around his neck and all most made him pass out before I could get her off of him.

                              These pictures are from 2014 and I am 6’ 2” tall and 275 lbs

                              Male


                              Female


                              I my opinion all the so called dwarf boas are Central American BCI boas and they tend to be more aggressive than Colombian BCI and some of the BCC boas. All the Central American BCI boas I have owned over the years have and some temperament problems so that is why I don’t keep them anymore.

                              I like the Southern Brazilian BCA boas for there size and temperament for a pet type boa. They only get around 6’ and all the ones I have owned are very tame and curious and like being out with me. Also in my opinion they have nicer looking colors and patterns to them than any Central American BCI.









                              Take care
                              Tom

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