Proper size of prey for boa

Lets stick with our newly acquired neonates, that are, say, four months old.

Some of the pure subspecies of the Genus Boa constrictor, especially Boa c. constrictor and Boa c. amarali, are notorious for regurgitating the half-digested prey when fed too frequently or with oversized rodents in their first year.

You can only avoid this by doing the following:

  • boas in the first six months should be fed with fuzzy mice or pinky rats only
  • neonate Boa constrictors should only be fed once every two weeks, and from the sixth month on in intervals of 10 days

Generally, young snakes should always have fully digested and defecated the last meal before the next feeding. If this does not happen within the two week deadline, it is recommended to wait a bit longer.Keep in mind that the regurgitation process causes a loss of substance. Chronic regurgitation has killed many Boa constrictors.

The regurgitation of half-digested prey leads to a significant loss of fluid and thereby to the weakening of the animal.

It is therefore recommended to inject the regarding boa with an electrolyte solution subcutaneously (underneath the skin). 0.5 – 1.0ml of table salt solution per 100grams of body weight of the snake as a one-time dosage can be very helpful. If necessary, this can be repeated after 24 hours.

If the boa digests regularly, one can slowly start offering larger prey items. If in doubt, always feed more frequently, yet smaller-sized prey items.

Even adult redtail boas of 2.5m (over 8ft) or more should still be fed with rats or young rabbits. If feeding poultry, it should be clear to you that the resulting feces tend to be rather mushy and smelly.

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Specialized feeders

It can always be that you happen to get a snake that will only accept a certain type of prey animal.

This can happen with all subspecies of boas, although the chance of this is much lower than with ball pythons, for example, of which some specimen rather starve to death than feed on anything but gerbils.

Well, what is one to do if the boa is into chicks or mice, but rejects every and any well-prepared rat?

Just keep on feeding chicks and mice? Our redtail boa will never become a 3-meter-giant like that...

Our solution for this is the "chick-express"! A prekilled chick and a prekilled rat are tied to one another with dental thread, or something similar to that. The neck of the rodent is tied to the legs of the chick in a way that, despite great effort, will keep the boa from untangling the two dozen knots that one has (hopefully) made.

You will see how your boa will greedily swallow the chick, and how it is unable to keep the rat from sliding down along with it.

We can also utilize these tricks if your boa will only take one single prey item (this also happens), even though several would be necessary. In that case, two rats can simply be tied together.

However, please do not abuse this type of feeding practice in order to powerfeed your snake!

Another possibility, which we also practice successfully with a mice-loving snake, is to drag and roll a prekilled rat through the area in the mice cage, at which the little buggers always do their business. Once the rat smells like mice-piss (excuse the expression), the snake will swear up and down that this prey item is an especially nicely-sized mouse.

After a while, this course of action will persuade the snake to accept rats even without these tricks. The same goes for the "chick-express"!