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Getting a Baby

Discussion in 'Rainbow Boas' started by Ssativa, Dec 22, 2008.

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  1. Ssativa

    Ssativa Subscribed User Premium Member

    My 8-yr. old son desperately wants a snake for Christmas. So... I went to the local reptile shop, which happens to be the cleanest, and finest reptile place that I have ever known, & checked out what kind of snakes they have. Well... they have everything, from milk snakes, pythons, boas, gophers, Hognose... you name it, they have it & if they don't have it now, they'll get it to you by tomorrow.

    I held the ball python...boring!!! Since I'm the one who will be the primary caretaker of this snake, I want it to be something that I'm actually interested in. I held the milksnake...they come in pretty colors, but they're fast and I'm not so sure how fond I am of this one. The gopher snake, the sand boa, both are okay but I'm still not sold.

    Then they bring the Brazilian Rainbow Boas. I know they are not the beginner snake but I've already had a Burmese Python until he was about 9 ft. long when I finally found a zoo to take him so I have some experience. I'm absolutely in love. So much so that I put down a deposit ($100, half the price of the snake) and they will have a baby for me tomorrow.

    Now I wonder, did I make the right choice? I am fascinated with this snake and my son is not the typical child. He is calm & I know he will have respect for this creature... but since this is supposed to be his snake, I hope it goes well.

    Do any of you more experienced BRB keepers have any advice for me before I finalize this purchase? Blackjack... I know you have much experience with these...any words of advice? I'm really excited but at the same time, I'm scared. The Burmese that I had turned out to be too much for me to handle and even though I took upon that responsibility as a favor to my beloved brother, I don't want to commit to something so demanding again.

    Any tips, warnings, or advice is appreciated.


  2. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Rainbows are not going to get as big as a burm, or as thick, though they are comparatively, very strong boas, and I have heard, pack a nasty bite. (mine has yet to bite me, and she is a baby too)

    I always heard they were not beginner snakes, so to break myself in to snakes, I opted for a Ball python to start with. Once I felt confident with that, I got myself a Brazilian Rainbow. I honestly do not find maintaining the snake very demanding. The only challenge I have is keeping her humidity up when I do not use a substrate that will help (I'm lazy, I prefer the carpets). It's workable. Of course, you need a lockable escape proof cage.

    Supposedly, they are nippy, but everyone has different experiences with them. Mine has never struck at me (or hissed)
  3. rattlerjen

    rattlerjen New Member

    These are wonderful snakes however there is much to consider. Having experience with a large snake is a plus on your side.

    Rainbow boas are strong and capable of overpowering a child, constant supervision will be a must.
    An enclosure with a locking mechanism using a key is a must in this situation, with only you being allowed to open the cage. This situation may be disappointing to your child and would be unnecessary with a small colubrid like a kingsnake or cornsnake.

    Also the future expense on properly housing this animal is something to consider. Expect to keep the animal for the rest of its life. (This could be over 30 years!) Decent zoos no longer will take unwanted reptiles, as they get calls nearly every day from people wanting to get rid of unwanted herps.

    While not as large as Burmese pythons, these snakes still get large and have special requirements.
    Rainbow boas are tropical rain forest snakes which require excellent humidity (over 75%) and heating control (mid 80 degrees F). They also get very large and like to climb. This will require you to purchase a specially made enclosure for snakes. (Expect to pay $300-$400 for an appropriately sized enclosure.) Find one at

    This is the perfect forum to get great suggestions and Rainbow Boa care sheets. And Remember, always take a newly purchased animal to a qualified vet right away.

    Good luck with the new and gorgeous addition! ;)
  4. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I work at a zoo - we get dozens/hundreds of calls each week from people trying to get rid of unwanted animals (herps and otherwise) and we just can't take them. Many people mistakenly think that a zoo is a rescue facility, or that because we are a zoo, we always want more animals. The sad reality, is that zoos are non-profit organizations, and many of them are already up to their ears in unwanted animals, and simply unable to house or care for any more. especially commonly abandoned animals like Iguanas, Large snakes, Tortoises, and parrots.

    Rainbow boas, while they are beautiful snakes, are very powerful for their small size. I know many adults who will not work solo with a rainbow. Also, like most boiids, they are nocturnal, which means your snake will only be out and about when the lights are off, and you're in bed. You won't see much of them during daylight hours.
  5. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Hi Kristy
    I personally think you made the right choice!! :)
    BRBs are extraordinarily beautiful, get big enough (but not too big) and are all around my favorite boa species. I've considered getting another over and over again... I probably will too! ;)
    I would say after your experiences taking care of your brother's burm, you are not a beginner. And I think anyone can start with any snake as long as they are willing to learn how to take care of it and able to provide for it's needs. My husband never had a snake in his life and started with Green Tree Pythons. He is now practically an expert on them, has 6 healthy snakes and they have the best care in the world.
    I might be alone with this opinion here, but IMO, there's no point in getting a snake you don't want/like "just for practice". Snakes live too long for that. If you're determined to have a snake, get the one you love and you'll be more likely to do whatever it takes to keep it healthy and happy.

    Having said all that, BRBs are VERY strong constrictors, so much so that my adult could make my hand go tingly just holding onto my forearm. I had a very unusually large female (she was a Marajo Island rainbow boa) and my husband made a rule that I should not handle her alone. (She held on a little too tightly to my neck once and I almost passed out!).
    With your experiences with your Burm, I don't think you or your son will find a BRB too much to handle.
    I found mine to be nippy if I took her out too early in the day. After 7pm she was fine. (It's funny that it's the exact opposite with our Green Tree Pythons: they're fine during the day, but at night, they bite!!)
    You'll have to see what personality yours has.
    They do like to climb and WILL manage to get anywhere you think they won't, so watch out for heat lamps and possible escape routes.
    I don't find their bites any worse than a GTP bite. They bleed, get a bit bruised, but I find paper cuts more painful and annoying.
    They are generally the most easy eaters -- none of mine EVER refused a meal!! They all converted immediately to F/T.
    Good luck with your new addition. And definitely post pics!
    If you have any specific questions, ask or PM me.
    Happy Holidays!
  6. Ssativa

    Ssativa Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thanks Blackjack.

    I needed to hear that...or did I??

    This morning I called the store and told them to cancel the order for the baby BRB. I wasn't sure I had made the right choice & did not want to be obligated to buy it once it arrived at the store. After work I went back to the store and literally checked out every other snake they had.

    I even got a cool bite from a baby Condro in the process, but nothing seemed like anything after holding that baby BRB. In the end, I decided that the best thing to do is bring my son into the store with me tomorrow and see what he thinks of the BRB.

    The one they have there is sold, but the guy says that if I decide that this is the snake I want (again) then he could have it there by Friday. I'm sure my son will love it, and this way I won't feel like I'm buying a present for him for me.

    I'll keep you all posted.

  7. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Good to know - I'll be more prepared for when mine finally has a bad day. I have yet to sustain an injury that trumps a paper cut in my books. (and I have had 3 axels run over my feet)

    Is it Emerald tree boas that are supposed to have the particularly nasty bite? They get their Latin name Corallus caninus because they have some highly developed canines for a boiid. I know they are somewhat related to BRBs. Though the teeth on mine do not look any worse than those on a ball python... Maybe it's just a bunch of hype.

    Obviously, if you do end up getting BRB, teach your son safe snake handling, so he can develop it as a habit while he is young. That way he has a good foundation for when he is old enough to handle the snake on his own.

    I have to say, mine has been so far a wonderful experience, not unlike what Blackjack described. I got a steal of a deal on mine. I paid $90.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
  8. Ssativa

    Ssativa Subscribed User Premium Member

    Wow! $90.00 is a steal. This one will cost me $240.00 and I thought that was a good price.

    As far as the handling goes, we had a large Burmese python (Dubious) for years, and although I never allowed my son to handle Dubious unsupervised, he is already well aware of the unpredictable nature of snakes and how to safely handle them.

    I was also fascinated with the GTP even after getting bit, but they seem a bit more skiddish than the BRB & I don't think my son would appreciate getting tagged. Maybe someday...
  9. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I got lucky and got my BRB direct from a breeder. On the last day of the shows, they get desperate to sell so they don't have to pack up everything and take it back. Best time to get good deals.

    Oddly enough, snakes are more predictable than a lot of animals. Where I work (zoo) the policies for letting the public touch educations animals is loosest with reptiles. They tend to regard birds (esp parrots and raptors) as unpredictable, as well as most mammals, especially felines. Everyone is permitted to touch snakes, lizards, turtles even alligators freely. All of that is tied directly to the liability of each animal to cause injury to people.
  10. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Emerald Tree Boas do have a bad rap, (probably a lot of hype) but I think there is some truth behind it. Like many tree snakes they (as well as chondros and Orthriophis taeniurus -Taiwan beauty snake) tend to be more "look/don't touch" kind of snakes. Fast and nippy. I have a book that shows the skulls of ETBs and GTPs and honestly, there is not a big difference in the teeth size.
    ETBs just seem to have a worse reputation for settling in to captivity. They also are prone to chronic regurgitation/vomiting.

    I think each individual snake is different. All of our chondros (we have 6) can be taken out and held during the day without problems. At night, they strike at anything that moves!

    My rainbow boas had smaller teeth than our GTPs, but they seemed to have much stronger jaws! Just the power of the strike usually left a good bruise (even if they didn't hold on). But as I said, paper cuts are worse and I get worse bruises from bumping against furniture.
    Rainbow boas are gorgeous snakes, but I was disappointed that they spent so much time hiding where you couldn't see them.
    What I love about the chondros is that we can admire their beauty day and night because they're always perched on their branches during the day and wandering around at night. -- But they should be regarded more like fish... for looks, not so much for handling.

    I would not recommend a chondro for an 8 year old, just because they really cannot interact with them as much as other snakes. Greg Maxwell (the chondro expert and author of the book "The More Complete Chondro") says if you have to handle your snake, get a cornsnake, not a chondro. He's right, but personally, I would take a rainbow boa over a cornsnake any day!
    I enjoy taking my BP out and letting him roam around the living room or having him sit and watch TV with me. (But my BP is a bit more boring than my rainbow boas were!) We only take the chondros out for weighing and photos (about once every 8 weeks or so).
    Good luck with your decision Kristy.
    I look forward to pics! :)
  11. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I'd love to get a chondro, but I really can't restrain myself enough to give it peace. I love handling my critters. Probably not the best choice for me then. I have yet to get bit by my rainbow, but I have only had her since July, and she is less than a year old. It'll happen, I'm sure. I consider bites an occupational hazard when working with animals. I expected mine to be nippy because she is so young.
  12. Ssativa

    Ssativa Subscribed User Premium Member

    Can you guess what snake I decided on?:rolleyes:

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  13. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    how beautiful. As long as you work out a system so your son and the snake are not given the opportunity to hurt each other, it should be fine. Good luck with him/her.
  14. titus

    titus Elite Member Premium Member

    Beautiful snake. If they were a bit cheaper here, I would get one.
  15. Ssativa

    Ssativa Subscribed User Premium Member

    The baby that I fell in love with in the store is actually the snake I went home with. They person who it was initially sold to decided on some other reptile. I don't really know how old this guy is or whether it is male or female, I forgot to get those details.:eek:

    Christmas was a good time to get him because my son has so many toys to play with that the fact that we have to resist holding the snake and allow him to get used to the new environment isn't that hard for him to deal with. He seems very mellow when we do handle him...not nippy at all.

    I'm wondering how much time I should wait before I attempt to feed him. This is what his eating/shedding schedule looks like:

    9/4- pinky
    9/11- pinky
    10/16 shed
    11/13- fuzzy
    12/4- fuzzy
    12/11- fuzzy

    I'd imagine that he is pretty hungry but I'm not sure how much time he needs to get acclimated. I made him a moist hide with sphagnum moss and that is where he stays all the time. I guess he likes it??
  16. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I don't even attempt to feed a new snake for a week after I get them. Let him settle in and get comfortable.
  17. Kendalle

    Kendalle Elite Member

    isn't 9/11 to 11/13 a long time for no feeding?

    (I don't know a thing about snakes really)
  18. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    How bad are they there?

    I know someone in Germany who breeds pythons, and has connections in the reptile business. I may be able to put you in contact with her. I'll see if I can't look up her website for you.
  19. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    It's a beauty Kristy! Congratulations! :)
    Generally BRBs are wonderful eaters and are easy to convert to F/T. If it were mine, I would probably attempt to feed it a frozen/thawed fuzzy on Monday or Tuesday. Thaw it out and warm it up in hot water or with a hairdryer and wiggle it a bit with feeding tongs. If he doesn't eat, you'll know he's not ready. If he takes it, then be sure to leave him alone again for 3 days or so to digest. If you have adequate heating and leave him alone, there should not be a risk of regurge.
    You can probably feed on a 7-10 day schedule, except during sheds. I usually feed the night after a shed, and then start counting a week or 10 days from there again.
    Good luck with the new guy.
    He's gorgeous! :)
  20. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Not really. Snakes can go an incredible amount of time without feedng.
    My male ball python winter-fasts for 5-6 months at a time!
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