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first snake some Q's

Discussion in 'Rainbow Boas' started by hestilowt, Jan 9, 2008.

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  1. hestilowt

    hestilowt New Member

    today i just bought my first snake, and it just so happens to be a brazilian rainbow boa (was gonna go with a kingsnake but both that the store had were extremely aggressive, ironically my rainbow boa was the most calm snake in the store)...along with my beautiful baby i also got a 20 gallon tank, a water bowl, a rock/cave thing to hide under...for heating i have a 75w "day blue" light bulb...and a 50w "night black" heat bulb...i also have an undertank heating pad on one side...however, with the "day blue" bulb going my thermometer reads around 70 fahrenheit...with the night bulb it reads slightly lower...yet my boa has been hangin out underneath the water dish since i got him home (prolly for about 5 hours or so now if not longer)...

    it seems too cold for my BrB (according to everything i've read and been told) yet he's not laying on the heating i guess i have a few questions...if he's cold will he search his new home for a warmer spot? or would i need to introduce him to where the heating pad is located? also, what brand/kind of heating system would be best for my BrB? i'd like to have everything automated because i tend to be forgetful...and a thermostat feature would be awesome as well...(i dont really know what the advantages and disadvantages of different heat sources are so any information here would be awesome)

    any other new information you'd like to share with me i'd greatly appreciate :) remember this is my first snake so any and ALL information on how to take care of my snake would probably be extremely helpful...
  2. Moshpitrockchick

    Moshpitrockchick Subscribed User Premium Member

    I'd go for a higher wattage bulb, any household light will do.

    What kind of thermometer do you have? Anything other than a digital cannot be trusted.

    If there isnt a secure hide spot on the warm side he probably wont want to hang out there.
  3. DarkMagician207

    DarkMagician207 Elite Member

    there are a few people here who have or have had rainbow boas. so hopefully they will chime in with some helpful info for you. all i know is they get a pretty decent size, some people cannot handle them by themselves. and they get very strong. i would definitely suggest finding all the research about them you can and read, read, read! the 20 gallon will not hold him as a home for long.

    good luck with him/her! :) definitely if you get a chance you should browse through the other threads in the rainbow boa forum to get an idea of what you'll be dealing with.
  4. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Sorry I missed this thread earlier. Welcome to HerpCenter and congratulations on your new baby! You've chosen one of the most beautiful boas that exist (in my opinion.) :D
    I used to keep rainbow boas they are amazing snakes. They are a medium sized boa that probably won't get more than 5-6ft long, however, they are extremely strong constrictors, so I do not recommend putting them around your neck.
    As far as your set-up: You should get a digital thermometer/hygrometer: I have one with a probe so I can measure the temperature on the cool side (where the thermometer hangs and on the warm side where I've placed the probe. )
    You also need a digital thermostat that regulates the heating. You should place the probe for the thermostat on the warm side of the terrarium, about 3inches above the substrate.
    Your snake will hide in the smallest darkest space it can fit. Make sure it has a secure hiding place on the warm and the cool side of the terrarium. It doesn't have to be anything fancy: when they are small, the "saucer" part of a ceramic flower pot turned upside down is perfect... Put a few of those around.
    Some snakes like to soak in their waterbowls: You want a waterbowl big enough so she can curl up in it but not so deep that she can drown in it. Make sure you change the water often (they like to poop in there too.)
    Rainbow boas are semi-arboreal and will climb just about anything if given a chance. Make sure there are no openings in your terrarium or you will soon be missing a snake. BRBs are strong and can fit through surprisingly small spaces. If you think the snake will not "go up there" or "get through there" -- think again!!!
    Be careful about light bulbs if they hang inside the terrarium: they should be covered with a sturdy protective wire cage which is secured very well. Snakes will climb up and wrap themselves around light bulbs, the results are usually burns and cuts because they squeeze the bulb hard enough to break it and they don't sense they are burning until it's way too late!
    I can highly recommend Pro Heat Panels.Pro Heat Radiant Heat Panels - Reptiles and Vivariums We use them to heat our chondro terrariums controlled by Herpstat thermostat Spyder Robotics Herpstat and a full-spectrum white florescent lamp on a 12 hour on/12 hour off cycle.
    The best thing to do is write an e-mail to the Pro Heat people for a recommendation. You tell them the dimensions of your terrarium, what material the terrarium is made of, what temperature you need in the terrarium, the ambient temperature of the room, and what animal you are housing and they will recommend the best product for you. That's what we did and they are working PERFECTLY! We couldn't be happier. They are attractive (well not as ugly as lamps with cages!) and the snakes can't burn themselves on them!

    Humidity is relatively important for rainbow boas. If you have a screen top terrarium, you'll probably need to cover part of it with plexiglass to keep the moisture in. I would not waste money on foggers -- they look neat but tend to cool the temperature of the terrarium, and they just use too much electricity, plus you have to re-fill them all the time.
    Use a sterilized soil substrate (either humus bricks that you dissolve in hot water) or orchid bark. Live plants (keep them in pots,so you can replace them!) will also help keep humidity, but the snake will probably eventually kill the plant by pulling it out of the pot or burrowing under the roots. :rolleyes:

    Use a hand mister/sprayer, fill it with water and spray the terrarium twice a day. You'll have water spots on the glass if you use normal water; so you can use distilled water if you want to avoid that problem.

    I also recommed offering your rainbow boa a moist hide box. Take a small tupaware box with a lid, cut a small hole in the small side of the box towards the top (you don't need any other airholes.) The hole should be big enough so the snake can get in and out with a full belly. Fill the bottom of the box with moist sphagnum moss. (you can get it at the pet store or online). You can re-wet the moss anytime (I run mine under warm water and squeeze it out so it's not dripping.) If she urinates or defecates on it, you'll want to throw it out, clean out the tupaware and replace it with fresh moist moss. I usually keep my moist hide in the middle of the terrarium, a bit closer to the warm side.
    OK, I hope that helps you a bit. Keep asking if you have other questions!
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