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Uh Oh, Inexpensive Red Tail Boa in Need of Saving at My Local Petco

Discussion in 'Common/Red Tail Boa' started by Max713, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. Max713

    Max713 Elite Member

    Went in to Petco today to pick up some crickets, and what did I find?


    She (Sex is unknown but I'm calling her a she) is 2 years 9 months old, and only ~2.5' long! I can't believe it... the person I talked to said they've had her for well over a year, and that they are almost positive of her age.
    She's absolutely gorgeous, and very sweet. I handled her for a few minutes and she seemed very alert, and comfortable in my hands, although she seemed a bit on the thin side. According to the worker, she eats thawed frozen mice, and is a good feeder, she eats in a separate feeding bin.
    She's in a glass show case, and has been for the last year, without a single hide, a small soaking dish, and limited climbing branches...
    I want to save her! They only want $85 for her...

    So for some questions...
    How stinted will her growth be? From what I've gathered she should be over 7' long by now! What do you guys think? Also she is a very light/sandy color, as you can see from the pictures (kinda), is it possible she's not a true Red Tail? She definitely has the Red Tail, Tail.
    I guess I don't have much else for questions.... but any info you guys have would be great, I've been reading some care sheets and I have a good idea of what to expect from a normal Red Tail, but this girl seems far from normal. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

    Attached Files:

  2. zaroba

    zaroba Elite Member

    As cruel as it may seem, its actually bad to 'rescue' reptiles from pet shops, even if they are sick and you want to nurse them back to health.

    Buying a reptile, whether sick or just in improper conditions, only gives the pet shop reason to continue selling reptiles in those conditions. it shows that somebody will still buy it so they will see no reason to change how they treat the reptiles. basically, you'd buy it, and the pet shop would just order another to be put in the cage and deal with the same problems that this one is.
  3. Max713

    Max713 Elite Member

    But I feel so bad... and she's so sweet! After further research, it seems she's more than thin, but actually very malnourished...

    I am VERY curious on others thoughts on what I would expect growth wise from a girl in her state.
  4. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    Why not speak to the manager and say that you think the snake is malnourished and in poor conditions. Tell the you will take it off their hands, or you will buy it if they pay to have a vet look at it and pronounce it healthy.

    If you don't get anywhere, contact the head office and tell them you want to report an animal that is not being cared for.

    There is also a Petco page on facebook, that would be a good place to talk about it if you have no luck speaking to them.
  5. zaroba

    zaroba Elite Member

    well, snakes never stop growing. they do most of their growing when young and slow down a lot as they get older.
    so, despite being stunted, it still could reach a normal adult size after a while. it might not do it fast, but it might be possible.
  6. Max713

    Max713 Elite Member

    I just got off the phone with the general manager, apparently 2 years 9 months was a misprint or something along those lines, as he stated the snake is no older than 6 months. Apparently the employee I originally spoke to had no idea what they were talking about...
    We spoke for probably 15 minutes about her, I expressed all my concerns including her lack of appropriate accommodations, and appearance of malnutrition. He said he would personally take a look at the snake and if needed take her to the vet, I asked if it was a reptile specific vet and he said it was.
    I expressed that I'd love to take her to a good home, but spending $85 would be hard to justify for a possibly sick snake, but I would love to work something out if possible. He took my name and info down and said he would give me a call back tomorrow.

    We'll see.
  7. zaroba

    zaroba Elite Member

    Sounds like he took interest.
    Hopefully he follows up on what he said.
  8. purplemuffin

    purplemuffin Elite Member

    Nathan and I got our Nagini(common boa) for 75 from a breeder at a show, and I know we've seen other healthy, quality animals for even less than that. The one you are looking at isn't actually a red tail, but is also a common boa!

    The problem with saving her is give the store 85 dollars. They get their animals for cheaper--I've seen wholesale boas for like 40 each in a group or less! Buying that boa means they have the money to buy more, and have no real reason to do any more work on their care(with the care given the snake got sold anyway, why spend more time/money?) and thus more and more snakes will be put in her position, and there will be more and more needing to be saved.. Because petco can afford to buy them and doesn't see a reason to change! Being a big chain pet store all the BIG money goes to the people who never even see a customer walk through the door, or even hear about anyone's complaints about the animals. They get the money and a list of what sold. No matter how upset you are at the employees, all the big guys will see is a paycheck and an animal that clearly will sell.

    It's good that you got someone to take interest, that is incredibly rare. I hope he follows through. I know what it's like to fall in love with an animal in bad conditions, but I've also gone through the trouble and heartbreak of trying to save them, and failing... Then comes the realization that this exact situation could now happen to more animals thanks to my money, and I didn't even get to save the animal I wanted..
  9. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    Good for you. As Kat says, it is probably a bit expensive, but it is a store, and you're paying for overheads. The fact that the manager has responded in such a way, might suggest there's a chance that you could have it for less.
    You could say that, as you are interested, you'd like to see it feed and ask when the next feed is due.
  10. Max713

    Max713 Elite Member

    I know exactly what you are saying, and I appreciate the thought, like you say if I were to buy her for $85, they could just buy 2 more. What good is saving 1 snake if I put 2 more in danger? It's just so hard to think about future snakes in her position when she is so beautiful and sweet right in front of me...
    I hadn't even thought about the heartbreak I'd go through in loosing her either... Dammit I'm such a sucker ;)
    A common boa you say, can you tell from the pictures I provided or are you assuming it is?

    I'll see what the manager says tomorrow, if he does call me back. If not I'll give him a call, possibly inquire about the next feeding.
  11. purplemuffin

    purplemuffin Elite Member

    I'll show you the difference, a common boa(usually colombian "red tails", though other localities exist) are from a different area than true red tail boas, which get a little bit bigger, have a little more red in their tails, and are a lot more expensive!

    The first way I know that petstore one is a BCI is the price, you aren't going to find a BCC at a petstore that often, and it wouldn't be sold that cheap if they did have it. Most BCIs don't have peaks on the saddle markings on their back--the darker coloration areas that make the )( )( shape down the body. BCCs tend to have more of a {}{} shape with a peak in the middle, though that isn't always the case. The basic look and coloration can tell you more about what it is, as well as doing a scale count, though that is pretty difficult.

    This is why it's good to buy from breeders! You know what locality you are getting, because different localities have different sizes, colors, etc... Even if they are the same species!

    If you do some searches on google for visual difference between BCI and BCC you can find some more information
  12. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

  13. boaterr

    boaterr Well-Known Member

    Buying a Petco Boa is often like buying a Ferrari with no maintenance history, in other words they are not worth the trouble.
  14. TamJam

    TamJam Elite Member

    So, when are you going to get that little boa?

    Look, I understand the whole thing about being responsible and not encouraging bad pet shops to buy more carelessly kept animals, vs. the whole thing about needing to love and save one particular individual that catches your heart.

    If you decide to get her, which I think you quite likely will (I probably would) make sure you keep on good terms with the manager and try to help him to take better care of his snakes. It seems he is willing to listen and learn from you, which is good! Also if you take her, keep her far away from any of your other reptiles and follow strict rules of hygiene for a period of quarantine at least six months.
  15. David McConley

    David McConley Elite Member

    Good luck if you do decide to rescue the little "girl". As much as everyone(myself included) say to not buy her for the reasons stated...I too am guilty of rescuing a ball python from a pet store myself.

    As for the size of her- where did you hear a 2 year old boa would be nearly 7 feet long? I don't recall ever reading that anywhere. They may reach 5-6 feet if they are powerfed, which is very unhealthy. Mine only got to around 4-4.5 feet at 2 years of age. I also rescued a boa from a nephew of mine who had her for 3 years. When I got her, she was 3 feet long and very thin. The pet store he bought her from told him to feed her 1 (ONE) small mouse every 2 weeks! That was 5 years ago...she is now close to 7 feet long and weighs about 15 pounds. She eats large/extra large rats at every feeding and is now in with a male and they are breeding like there will be no tomorrow! Hopefully, I will have some BABIES in a few months. If yours had been stunted- she might bounce back like mine did, luckily if the manager told you correctly instead of the original sales person, you won't have to worry about that. Good luck and if you get her, post LOTS of photos!
  16. TamJam

    TamJam Elite Member

    That is a nice story, David!!! I like happy endings!:D
  17. Max713

    Max713 Elite Member

    Thanks for all the interest everyone. It's noon here and I haven't heard anything yet, hopefully I'll have some new info by this evening...

    Tamjam... you're probably right... I'm a sucker...

    David... always good to see a good story when there are so many bad ones, and believe me, there will be more than enough pictures haha
  18. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    To be honest, from what I can see in the photos, the snake, though a little thin, doesn't look all that worse for wear.

    I've seen MUCH worse!
  19. Max713

    Max713 Elite Member

    I've seen worse as well, but from what I understand if a snake looks at all on the thin side, it is probably pretty malnourished as snakes don't show malnourishment very well.
  20. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Young boas do look a bit on the thin side compared to what they mature into.

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