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Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

Why should I buy a captive bred boa?

How accurately do The Boa Store's images represent the boas that are sold at The Boa Store?

How do I know if I can legally own a boa constrictor?

Why do you identify your boas as Colombian/Columbian Boas in the main heading?

Why do the boas vary in price?

Who should I contact if I have a question about one of the boas featured at The Boa Store?

How large will my boa get?

How large of an enclosure do I need for my boa?

What is the boa's prey and how is it killed?

How does the boa eat its prey?

How much do boas eat?

How warm should I keep my boa?

What should I use to heat my boa's environment?

How concerned should I be about snake bites?

Why do snakes bite? How can I reduce the likelihood of being bitten?

What should I do if I am bitten?

How do I know if my boa is about to shed?

Can boas hear?

How can you tell the sex of a boa?

Do Boa Constrictors really have remnants of hind legs?

 
 

Why should I buy a captive-bred boa?

Each year a large number of wild captured and "farm raised" boa constrictors are imported into the United States. For a variety of reasons, captive-bred boas have a number of advantages over these imported boas... click for full text.

How do I know if I can legally own a boa constrictor?

If you have any doubt about whether or not it is legal for you to possess a boa in your home, The Boa Store strongly recommends that you check the laws in your area to make sure it is legal for you to possess a boa in your home. The Boa Store does not make refunds if, after receiving your boa, you learn that it is not legal for you to possess a snake in your community.

How accurately do The Boa Store's images represent the boas that are sold at The Boa Store?

Images of the Boa Store's boa constrictors are not enhanced. Our images are created by using a NIKON COOL PIX  950 or 990 DIGITAL CAMERA. The pictures are taken under a Reveal light bulb, being represented as the most natural light bulb available. The camera's flash provides the lighting for the images. Images are taken in fine VGA mode (640 x 480) resolution. The original 640 x 480 image is placed on the individual page for each snake (accessed by clicking the stock number of the snake). The smaller images are simply the original 640 x 480 image resized to 315 x 236, using the resize feature on L View Pro, version 2.1. Every effort is made to assure that the images you see provide the most accurate representation of our snakes as possible.
 

Why do you identify your boas as Colombian/Columbian Boas in the main heading?

The name "Colombian Boa" generally refers to boa constrictors who are thought to have originated in or around the nation of Colombia in South America and/or to the offspring of boas constrictors who are thought to have come from that region. However, the word "Colombian" which is derived from the South American country of Colombia is often spelled in the United States as "Columbian." We include both spellings in our main heading since many people type "Columbian" when performing a search for Colombian boas. Back to Boa Store Front Door
 

Why do the boas vary in price?

Prices of our boas are based on several criteria. . . [Click to continue]
 

Who should I contact if I have a question about one of the boas featured at The Boa Store?

If you have questions about one of the boas featured at The Boa Store, please contact Sharon Moore, the owner of The Boa Store by calling (423) 733-9991 or by writing to Sharon Moore, c/o The Boa Store, 318 Waterfall Creek, Sneedville TN 37869.

How large will my boa get?

 Most boas will grow to between 6 and 8 feet with the males usually being the smaller of the two sexes. Snakes grow rapidly for the first 3 to 4 years of their life. After that, their growth rate drops dramatically--gaining only about 1 inch or less per year.
 

How large of an enclosure do I need for my boa?

 The baby boas we feature would be comfortable in a 10 gallon aquarium for up to one year. By the time your boa becomes an adult you would want a cage large enough so that your snake can stretch out if it prefers. An example would be a 75 to 100 gallon aquarium or a custom cage. The cages we use at The Boa Store are walk-in cages that are 5 feet wide by six feet long.
 

 What is the Boa's prey and how is it killed?

 Boas capture their prey, which includes mice, hamsters, pigeons, chickens, rats, guinea pigs, and rabbits, by ambush rather than by pursuit. They kill their prey by wrapping around it and constricting its breathing. This, in turn, causes the prey's heart to stop.


How does the Boa eat its prey?

 The boa ingests the meal whole, usually staring at the head. The boas use their tongue, which is not poisonous or harmful in any way, to locate the part of the meal to be ingested first. The tongue also functions to help the boa detect potential preys' scent and to know the temperature of its surroundings.
 The boa's jaws are loosely attached to the rest of the skull. This allows the mouth to be stretched, somewhat like a sock, over the head of its prey. The snakes teeth are also curved which helps the snake to pull its mouth slowly over the food. The snake salivates profusely while eating which helps to lubricate the throat as the prey is swallowed. The skin between the scales is also stretched while the food passes down the neck to the stomach.
 The front part of the windpipe, or glottis, can be protruded out the side of the mouth so that breathing is not obstructed as the prey is consumed.

 

How much do Boas eat?

 Young boas consume an average of a mouse per week. As the boa's size increases, so does the size of the meal--or the number of animals consumed in one meal. For adult boas, one meal every 7-10 days is usually sufficient. However, if you observe your snake searching around the cage in less than 7 days you can consider feeding it more often or feeding it a little larger meal. Avoid making too large of a jump in the size of your boa's meal, however. as it will regurgitate its food if the meal is too large to digest. It is also a good idea to let your boa "rest" for a couple of days after eating. That is, handle your boa less and avoid moving it around or startling it. Finally, snakes grow at different rates so you need to adjust the size and frequency of meals to your own snakes rate of growth.
 

How warm should I keep my boa?

 Normal room temperature (68 -70 degrees Fahrenheit) IS NOT warm enough for boas. Ideally, their environment should be between 78 and 90 degrees, with a cool area and a warm area.. Less than 78 degrees and the snake is likely to get sluggish, become uninterested in eating, and will be more susceptible to infection or illness. Anything over 90 degrees, on the other hand, should be avoided as high temperatures, especially near 100 degrees, is fatal.
 

What should I use to heat my boa's environment?

 Since boas are cold-blooded they rely on heat from their surroundings to survive and carry out their bodily functions. Heat should be provided so that the boa can move on and off the heat source as it needs to. Heat pads and heat rocks specially designed for this function are best and can usually be bought at a local pet store. You should check your heat source regularly to make sure it is working properly as boas have very little sense of heat on their body and can get burned if the heat source is too hot.
 

How concerned should I be about snake bites?

 When people think of snakes, the first think they often think of is a "snake bite." However, the fact is that a pet snake is no more likely to bite than a dog, cat, or bird--and in most cases causes less injury than dog and cat bites or scratches. Just as a person who owns a cat may get scratched, so also a person who owns a snake may get bitten.
The most important thing to know about a boa's bite is that it IS NOT poisonous, nor does it have "fangs".

 

Why do snakes bite? How can I reduce the likelihood of being bitten?

As the owner of a snake you must realize that your boa does not bite out of meanness or aggression, but instead out of mistaken identity or fear.

Mistaken Identity: In this case, your hand's smell or movement (or both) is mistaken by the snake to be the smell or movement of prey. This is most likely to occur around the snakes usual feeding time or after you have been handling its meal. It is, therefore, a good idea to wash your hands after feeding the snake so if you later reach in you will no longer have the scent of the snake's prey on your hands. Sometimes the snake may be attempting to strike its prey and will instead hit your hand but you can reduce the likelihood of this by simply dropping the prey into the snake's cage and observing it to make sure the snake kills and eats it. Also, if you are feeding the snake prey that has been frozen you should simply place it in the enclosure with the snake after the prey has thawed. For older boas it should not be necessary to wave the dead prey around in order for the snake to take interest. However, with young boas it may be necessary to wave the thawed prey around for the first several feedings. If you must move the snake immediately after feeding it is also a good idea to use a stick with a hook on it to lift it up and out of the cage. This is usually enough to get the snake's mind off eating and it also prepares it for being handled.

Fear: In this case the snake may be startled by sudden movement and strike at your hand. This problem can be easily overcome by using a stick or other instrument to gently touch the snake in order to prepare it for being handled. You can often sense that your snake is fearful because it will make a loud hissing sound in an attempt to scare away whatever it is frightened of. If this happens to you, (this is usually a problem with a smaller boa that is not accustomed to being handled) simply put the snake in a cotton pillowcase and handle and stroke it through the pillow case. Usually in less than two hours the snake will lose its fear of touch. You can then remove it from the pillow case and hold it up to your warm body. By being close to the warmth of your body the snake will begin to experience handling as a positive experience. Also, avoid making sudden movement outside of the cage as the snake may become startled and strike the glass or wire and injure its mouth.
 

What should I do if I am bitten?

 If a bite does occur it is typically nothing more painful than a small scratch with smaller boas. As the boa gets larger a bite is analogous to a cat scratch--but is often less traumatic to your skin than a cat scratch would be. Even a bite from a full-grown boa is likely to be less painful than a cat scratch.

 In the event of a bite you should cleanse the area thoroughly and you should also check to see if any teeth have been lodged in the skin. These teeth, about the size of standard-typeface comma (,) in baby boas and about the size of a small blackberry thorn in larger boas can stick in the skin like small thorns. Typically, teeth will only get stuck in your skin if you react to a strike by jerking back. Of course this is natural, but if you are able to not jerk your hand back any injury you receive would be greatly reduced. If you do jerk your hand back you can expect a fair amount of bleeding. You can also expect some bruising in the area because of bleeding under the skin. In any case, falling off a bike and skinning-up your hands or knees is a much more severe wound than a snake bite.
 

How do I know if my boa is about to shed?

 Before shedding, the snake will take on a cloudy appearance. This is because fluid accumulates between the old top layer and the new lower layer of "skin." After a few days, the cloudiness will clear and the snake will begin shedding. Do not attempt to remove the cloudy outer layer prematurely as it could be fatal to the snake if the shedding cycle is not complete.
After the snake sheds remove the shedded layer of skin as soon as possible from the boa's environment and check for any areas on the snake where old skin remains. Also, it is very important that you check your snake's shed for the "eye caps." If these have not come off you should carefully remove them yourself--if you have doubts please call.

 

Can boas hear?

Boas, like other snakes, have recently been found to have inner ears. In fact, they are believed to have stereoscopic hearing, although the sounds they hear are muted. They can also feel vibrations through their body to discern something around them.
 

How can you tell the sex of a boa?

The sex of a boa constrictor can only be positively determined by using a special probing instrument that is inserted into the snake's vent opening. The sex is determined by observing how deeply the probe goes into the snake. Sex probing should only be done by someone who is familiar with the use of the probing instrument and the anatomy of the boa constrictor as improper probing could potentially cause harm to the snake.
 

Do Boa Constrictors Really have remnants of hind legs?

 Boas are among the most primitive of existing snakes. They have visible claws near the base of the tail, which some scientists believe are actually remnants of hind legs. In the males, not only are the claws highly visible, they are used in the seduction of the female.
 

 

 



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