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Rainbow Boa Care

(Epicrates cenchria)

There are several different subspecies of Rainbow Boa.  The most common one found in the pet trade it the Brazilian Rainbow Boa (pictured above), do to its bright orange and red coloration.  The Rainbow boas are given their name due to the multicolored  iridescent sheen which covers their body when seen in sunlight. They are shy and nocturnal and live by rivers, streams, lakes and swamps.


Housing/ Furnishing/ Substrate

Plastic or fiberglass cages are ideal, but sometimes lack adequate ventilation and are more costly than wooden cages. Wooden cages are fine so long as all joints are well sealed with aquarium sealant or similar. Glass fronted dark wood cages are probably the best choice for most keepers, but ensure the enclosure has well-sealed ventilation also. A cage of 4ft long x 1.5ft deep x 2ft high is adequate for the largest adult and 4ft long x 2ft deep x 2ft high for an average sized pair.  Many substrates are also available, but the safest and most natural, in my experience, is Orchid Bark or Carpet.

Hides must be provided to avoid stress, artificial plants, artificial caves, plant pots, upturned seed trays with cut out entrances, etc may be used. If humidity is difficult to maintain an enclosed hide filled with regularly damped moss may provide a high humidity area to help sloughing and general health. Any correctly sized plastic food storage container may be used, with an appropriately sized entrance cut into it.
Many Rainbow Boas enjoy climbing branches or similar, while others will never climb such items in the enclosure. This appears to be more down to the individual than the sub-species, in my experience, though their inclusion will create a more natural looking cage.

Heating/ Lighting

The general temperature requirements of Rainbow Boas are as follows,  about 85°F, this should not exceed 90°F for any length of time as this can be harmful. The ambient temperature of the enclosure should be about 78°F, dropping at night to around 74°F.

Heat may be supplied in various ways and the method chosen is down to personal taste, funds and a number of other factors. Here I will assume a single set-up to be kept. In a single set-up heat is probably best provided by a ceramic heater (well guarded) and a pulse proportional thermostat with a day-night function. Heat mats are not suitable for Rainbow Boas, if sited under the vivaria the heat transfer is to poor and if sited within the vivaria these may lead to very serious burns to your snake.

Water/ Humidity

Rainbow Boas must be kept humid and enjoy long periods of soaking, even when not in shedding.
A water bowl large enough for the snake to lay in should be provided and changed regularly, as Rainbow Boas have a tendency to defecate in their water bowls and it is also the water they will drink from. The enclosure should be misted daily to try and maintain a relative humidity of about 70%.



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