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First Rosy Boa, Could Use Some Tips

Discussion in 'Rosy Boas & Sand Boas' started by Khamomeal, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. Khamomeal

    Khamomeal New Member

    Well he's my first snake EVER. So I'm really worried that I'm not being a good mama. He's a gorgeous albino and only 3 months old. SOOOOOOO I really want to make sure he is a happy snake. Any tips would be sooo appreciated!!

    Current set up:
    20 gallon screen topped tank
    8-watt under tank pad
    Overhead heat lamp (bought a 60 watt night bulb)
    Zilla Lizard litter
    Very small water dish (I read somewhere that keeping one in the habitat at all times isn't recommended. Is that true?)
    one tree/hideaway (planning on getting at least one more but I didn't like any I found at the store)
    Thermometer (is seems to be staying at around the 84 degree mark)

    Right now he is very understandably nervous. He hissed at me once while I was taking him out of his transportation home into his new home. I plan on keeping my handling of him very limited for the next week but I really would like him to be a shoulder snake. One that's very comfortable being on my person. Any tips or tricks on raising him to be that way?
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
  2. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

  3. Wyldrose

    Wyldrose Elite Member

    I would not handle him at all the first week. Attempt to feed him, if he eats handle him 48 hours later. If he wont eat for you give him another week of no handling and try again. Your first goal is to get him eating good then you can tame him :)

    What type of thermometer are you using? Lots of petshops like to push the dial ones which are often off a lot! A digital thermometer with a probe works the best (Homedepot, walmart etc sell them for around $10)
    I use just a heating pad for my corns, and the hot spot is around 85f. A uth and a heat light might be too much for him.
  4. diehardislanders

    diehardislanders Elite Member

    Rosy Boas are awesome!!! Welcome to the club friend. Ok, first off the reason that most people say not to put a water dish in at all times is to control humidity. I will start with the humidity issue. Their natural enviornment is extremely dry which prompts most people to over-react about humidity. If you can manage to keep your humidity around 40%-45% that is fine. Mine even touches 50% at times which is a bit high. Too much constant humidity can cause RI. In arizona, these snakes seek out the moisture offered by burrows, creeks, and condensation. It is proven that their activity is highest after rain and when their enviorment is deluged with brief bits of humidity. I live in a humid state and use lamp bulbs to burn down humidity a bit. One of the biggest Rosy Boa breeders lives in NJ and told me that he has never had RI problems and all of his snaks are subjected to whatever the ambient humidity is. (Generally between 45%-50%). My Rosy (like alot of them) soaks for a few days during shed, so make sure water is available during shed.

    Do you have any specific questions? It is so hard to find good Rosy Boa info.
  5. Khamomeal

    Khamomeal New Member

    Thanks sooo much for the tips so far! I'm off to get a digital thermometer. :-" It still says its around 84 but it didn't really drop during the night and I had the lamp turned off all night.

    As to humidity I don't think thats a problem. I live in a desert and our average humidity high is around 30% most of the year. It only gets around the 50% mark during the winter months (nov-feb). Do you think that keeping the dish with a minimal amount of water in the tank would be a good precaution until I get used to his shedding habits? Again he's only 3 months soo I know he's gonna be shedding a lot more than an older snake would.

    I do have a question though. I keep reading that they love their hiding holes, but is it normal for them to sleep out in the open? In fact he's spent a lot of his time not in his hiding hole or burrowing, which seems contrary to all I've read about them. >c<
  6. DarkMagician207

    DarkMagician207 Elite Member

    My Rosy is approximately 10+ years old. Sometimes I keep a water dish in there daily and sometimes I take it out for a few days then put it back in, he never soaks in it and sheds beautifully. It is a shallow dish to help avoid spills. I use Carefresh bedding and put a couple inches in it. He loves to burrow and sometimes you can see the beginning or ends of his burrow tunnels if he happens to make them near the glass. Sometimes they can be shy or nippy as babies but as they grow and get used to you, they can become very docile. Mine is the snake that I will take out when family or friends are around and may be nervous about snakes because he has never struck or bitten anyone and is very slow moving unlike my 2 corns. Chaos (my Rosy) likes to hang out in people's hands or on laps and just be there. He eats every 2-3 weeks when he is hungry but since I have had him he always goes off of food for the winter and at first it freaked me out but a friend's husband who had him before me said he did that to him to and he has done it ever since. So anywhere from July/August to February-ish is when he isn't too interested in food.

    Since yours is so new I would definitely give him at least a week to settle in with no handling, sometimes it takes a bit longer. My tank is decorated with fake foliage since it helps with security and not being so exposed. Mine also lives in my room so it's a low traffic area. That helps too. Most of the time I never see mine unless I go hunting for him. Sometimes he will come out to roam around then go back into his hide or burrow.

    When I feed (frozen/thawed), I feed him in the evenings and put him in a plastic critter keeper with a lid. Sometimes he will eat right away and sometimes I have to cover his feeding bin with a dark towel or blanket and pull the shades in my room down.

    Good luck with him!
  7. diehardislanders

    diehardislanders Elite Member

    I have many different hides for mine, and the one she consistently goes for are semi open. Occassionally I will catch her hanging out in the open, but if she is out she is generally on the move. Each snake is different.
  8. Khamomeal

    Khamomeal New Member

    yeah. He seems to be pretty much a peacock, in that he likes to show himself off. He'll spend hours on top of his hiding holes, sometimes even stretched across them.

    However I did just feed him, and I think I did more than a few things wrong. I think I may have gotten too small of prey for him. Is there suppose to be a slight bulge after feeding?

    Also I put him into a separate tank for feeding. How long should I wait till putting him back in his enclosure. He snapped at me tonight but I know that was probably because he just thought I was another treat.
  9. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    My advice first and formost would be to get a hook the ones they make for snakes. Use the hook when taking him out of the cage and use the hook to put him back in his cage. That will ease his stress of our hands a lil more. I leave my king in a plastic feeding bin for 20 minutes to 30 if he stays sluggish for that long then I use the hookto transfer him to his tank. I try not to touch him at all during that time frame. Then after 24-48 hours I use the hook to get him out and on my hands. He seems fine. Only nipped once when I stuck my hand into his cage... lol
    terretory thing I guess.
  10. FlagonFly

    FlagonFly Member

    From what I have read, you may want to try to keep your warm side closer to the 88-90F mark, at least during the day. It may be exposing itself so much to try and soak up more heat from the lamps. But also key is to not try and change too many things too quickly by too much at the same time. Make small adjustments to temps, hide locations, and the like and let things settle for a few days. In general a good sign that you are getting temps within acceptable ranges to the snake is to see it spend roughly equal amount of time on the warm and cool sides of the cage as it thermoregulates itself. If it's spending all of its time burrowed down and resting over your tank heater, it might not be quite warm enough. But of course too warm can be harmful. I use some overheat lights during the day that shut off at night, and an under tank heater on a thermostat set to 88 or 89, so if she gets cold she will sometimes burrow to the bottom on the warm side, but sometime later she will usually have moved around to the cool side.

    I'm not familiar with the zilla lizard litter, but for humidity control you want to ensure your substrate does not tend to give off moisture. I've read various opinions on material like sand, crushed walnut shells, etc, but overall rosy owners seem happy about simple shaved aspen bedding. It does a good job soaking up and retaining moisture and if you find a style that is not too large and chunky pieces, it holds up to tunneling and burrowing and kind of holds its shape for the snake to feel like its tunneling and not just rooting around in loose leaves.

    I've not had many problems with biting or aggressive behavior, but rosys are voracious feeders (normally, once yours gets settled in I'm sure will be fine) so when you have a f/t mouse anywhere near all bets are off and I've had mine strike at the plastic tub top I use when I feed her outside her normal cage. So I usually use a hook to get her out of the cage and just make sure she's not in a striking mood, especially if she's not burrowed under and is out and about which she does when she starts getting hungry. But once in hand she is a bit nervous (is still young) but has never show aggressive behavior or struck at me.
  11. FlagonFly

    FlagonFly Member

    Oh, and as for water I have also read a lot of different opinions. What I am doing that seems to work well so far is to not have a water dish in the cage for 2 or so days after feeding, but otherwise I keep a small water dish in most of the time. Supposedly some rosys will tend to drink a lot after eating and then have regurgitation issues. So that coupled with trying to keep humidity at least below 50%, try to stay away from overly large water dishes, and make sure it's sturdy so it doesn't get tipped over. If it does you'll want to change your bedding to get rid of the excess moisture.

    Mine hasn't shed yet since I've had her for a month now, so am waiting to see if she has any problems during that time and may use a bigger water dish just during sheds that she can soak in a bit if so.

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