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  • Looking for Some Enclosure Advice

    Hey all,

    My name is Kyle, and I'm 24 currently raising my third friend. I've kept corns and kings in the past, but this is my first boa:



    Her name is Dionysis and I believe she is about a year old based on the fact that shes about two and a half to three feet long (shes not a fan of sitting still long enough for me to measure her properly).

    This is the enclosure that I currently have for her:



    It's a 30 gallon long tank, sliding lid with a lock, with some fake vines for climbing (which she loves), and a nice large hollowed out log I purchased from a local reptile supply store that doubles as a hide for her. Right now I'm using a standard size ceramic dog-bowl for her water / soaking source and change the water once to twice a week depending on how it looks. I do not currently use any form of water purification, but she hasn't seemed to have any issues with it after having her for about six months. I have a medium ZooMed under-the-tank heat pad as well as a 100 watt red light bulb about 8 inches above the tank that are both on 24/7 to keep the ambient temp around 85/88 and the basking area around 90/92. For humidity, I spray the entire tank down well once a day and keep one side of the tank covered with a blanket to keep the moisture in a little better, and it usually spikes around 60% and holds around 45%. I'm currently using jungle mulch for substrate and am feeding her one live adult mouse every other week, although I am currently looking to switching her to freshly killed / frozen.

    Honestly, I'm just trying to make sure that I am doing everything I can to make her happy and comfortable. I am looking for suggestions from other people what I can do to make life as good as captivity can be for her. She feeds and sheds with no issue whatsoever, and doesn't seem to mind being handled once I have her out of the tank. When I first got her, she was completely docile, but lately she seems to be having a little bit of anxiety about being taken out and handled, even when it's just me and her. I haven't changed anything, aside from maybe not handling her as much as I used to, and I know that that is something that I need to get better about if I want her to be manageable when she is full-grown. If anyone has any advice on better heating / lighting / humidity control, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for any replies!
    Last edited by natieb; 01-27-2016, 09:22 AM. Reason: Moved to Caging forum for visibility

  • #2
    Re: Looking for Some Enclosure Advice

    Given her size and age, I would go ahead and order her adult-size PVC enclosure now. Many suppliers have long lead times due to demand.

    Alternatively you could watch Craigslist - there's a 3.5' Vision enclosure in Parkville listed at $180 if you search through the Baltimore ads.

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    • #3
      Re: Looking for Some Enclosure Advice

      Sounds like you're doing a pretty good job. She might out grow her tank sooner than you expect. You might want to start to look into getting her an adult sized cage soon because they can take some time to set up as you may know. Or you can size up with her. Up to you.

      Definitely switch her to F/T as soon as possible. If you have the heart to do fresh kill, that also works. From what I've heard, some of the nutrients are lost when it is frozen and then thawed. Then again that process also kills lots of the bacteria which some might have chance of getting your snake sick even though it isn't likely. I personally couldn't do fresh kill.

      With the anxiety... how cold is it in the room when you have her out? Could it be that she is cold and she is trying to get to a warm safe place? It could also be that your room is warm and she wants to explore. My guy will get squirmy if he wants to explore and if I don't let him, but that only happens if the room is between 78 degrees and 80 degrees. If it is any warmer than that he either wants to curl up on my keyboard or if it is any colder he wants to curl up in my hoodie.

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      • #4
        Re: Looking for Some Enclosure Advice

        Your best bet would be to ditch the fish tank. You'll have to work much harder than you have to to maintain proper heat and humidity.

        Animal Plastics
        Plastic Reptile Cages, Tanks and Racks. Snake, arboreal, lizard and turtle light weight custom flexwatt heated enclosures.


        -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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        • #5
          Re: Looking for Some Enclosure Advice

          Thanks for the replies everyone!

          I already started looking into building an enclosure for her to grow into, just don't have the funds at the moment. The 30gal was leftover from when I had my corn and humidity wasn't really and issue. I cleaned it out and scrubbed it down and so far she seems happy in it, but I know it won't be long before she outgrows it.

          As far as the temp in my room goes, it's usually around 70/72. I let her explore on my bed and hang out with me when i'm watching TV and she usually either curls up on my chest or in the pocket of my hoodie if I'm wearing one.

          This week happens to be a feeding week, so any advice on the best way to switch her over? I was gonna just get an adult mouse and flick it's head with a spoon like I used to for my king, but he had been fed frozen / fresh killed all his life (he was 7 when I got him). As far as I know, my boa has always been fed live and I'm kinda nervous about attempting to switch over.

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          • #6
            Re: Looking for Some Enclosure Advice

            So I've spent a few hours putting together a mock-up of a new enclosure. It measures 60" wide, 30"deep, and 65" tall. I designed a 2'x1' cage in the upper-right that is going to be surrounded in mesh to install lamps (heat and daylight), and included a cut-out underneath of the ledge sized for a 12"x6" ventilation grill. The sides and front are going to be plexiglass, and the rest wood. I know to stay away from pine, and was thinking about using cedar or another redwood if I can find it reasonably inexpensive. Haven't quite hammered out the hinges / locks yet, but I figure I have a few moths before I can afford to start building anyways. Any advice on materials, adjustments, or general feedback would be greatly appreciated. I'm interested to hear if you guys think this would be big enough for my boa to grow into, or if it's gonna end up being too small for her. Thanks in advance!



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            • #7
              Re: Looking for Some Enclosure Advice

              That is impressive. The only thing I would be worried about with it being so tall would be how well the heat would be maintained. With plexi that big, you might want it to be a little thicker than normal. I think 1/2" for the doors would be good enough and have locks in a couple places so that she can't push it open or damage it. The sides can probably be 1/4" still because you will be securing it around the edges.

              Boas don't really need that much vertical space as when they get older they don't tend to climb as much because they are heavier. She will still make use for it if the top shelf is the basking area.

              Don't worry too much about switching her. Boas are kinda considered like dumpster snakes. I know many people who have several snakes, if one snake doesn't want food, it will go to the Boa. They will take it if it smells like food. Since you will be doing fresh kill, just use tongs and put it in the cage. If she seems more interested in you than it, use the tongs to jiggle it a little. Don't get your finger in the way. My boa switched from live at the pet store/breeder to F/T with me first attempt. He hit it with so much enthusiasm that they threw his whole body at it instead of pulling it to him.

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              • #8
                Re: Looking for Some Enclosure Advice

                Cedar is a big no-no for snakes as the oils in it that make it a great insect repellant are hazardous to your snake's health. I would avoid black walnut for the same reasons.

                Birch would work, as would oak. No matter what kind of wood you use you will need to seal it well.

                I prefer more floor space and less height to make creating a temperature gradient easier and to let the snake stretch out if it wants.

                Hope Depot carries sheets of 4x8x1/2" PVC locally for $78, search under "Veranda PVC Siding". IMO it's a better cage material than wood as it is light, strong, cleans and disinfects easily, and only the seams need to be sealed with silicone to make it water tight.

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                • #9
                  Re: Looking for Some Enclosure Advice

                  Originally posted by kwgriffee View Post
                  I know to stay away from pine, and was thinking about using cedar or another redwood if I can find it reasonably inexpensive
                  You can use pine lumber for building a cage, just not for bedding; cedar is always bad. Just make sure you seal the wood properly.

                  Originally posted by kwgriffee View Post
                  already started looking into building an enclosure for her to grow into, just don't have the funds at the moment.
                  I buily a cage nowhere near as complex and nice as the one you're planning and it cost me more that buying a pre-fab cage.

                  I like the design idea, but there are some things to consider. How will you heat that much space? What will that equipment cost to buy? To run? How many locks will I need, and where should I place them.

                  There are dollar signs attached to each of these.

                  Seriously though, I love that cage idea. I wish I had more room for something like that.

                  Originally posted by acephantom903 View Post
                  Boas don't really need that much vertical space as when they get older they don't tend to climb as much because they are heavier.
                  [MENTION=25796]acephantom903[/MENTION] I'm not so sure of that. I've seen video of a large adult boa hunting monkeys in the tree tops.

                  All the more reason to make sure your climbing branches and shelves are very sturdy and can hold 30+ lbs.


                  -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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                  • #10
                    Re: Looking for Some Enclosure Advice

                    Originally posted by Pandorasdad View Post
                    I'm not so sure of that. I've seen video of a large adult boa hunting monkeys in the tree tops.
                    Can you find me this video? I'd like to watch it. Boas are amazing animals. I didn't mean that they didn't climb, just that they don't do it as much. Wouldn't you hunt a monkey through the treetops if you were hungry enough?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Looking for Some Enclosure Advice

                      I found a video but it looked like it was only 6' above the ground in the trees. The one with the howler monkey?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Looking for Some Enclosure Advice

                        I have 4 used boaphile cages I'm looking to sell all 4 footers.

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