If you’re in the market for a new snake, the Dumeril’s boa is worth a look. This large and impressive snake is relatively easy to care for, and you can get a large snake without needing to spend the money on an extremely large enclosure.
But why else are these snakes so popular, and what do you need to do to care for them? We break down everything that you need to know in this comprehensive guide.
Quick Facts About Dumeril’s Boa
|Species Name:||Acrantophis dumerili|
|Common Name:||Dumeril’s boa|
|Lifespan:||20 to 30 years|
|Adult Size:||4 to 6 feet|
|Diet:||Mice, rats, reptiles, lizards, and small mammals|
|Minimum Tank Size:||60 gallons, 4’ x 2’ x 1’|
|Temperature & Humidity:||90-degree-Fahrenheit basking area with 83- to 88-degree-Fahrenheit cooler area, and 40–60% humidity|
Do Dumeril’s Boas Make Good Pets?
If you’re looking for more of a hand’s-off snake that isn’t aggressive, then a Dumeril’s Boa is an outstanding choice. While they need a decent-sized enclosure, when you factor in their larger size, it’s relatively small.
But if you want a snake that you can handle a bunch, this likely isn’t it. They’re flighty by nature, so when you’re handling them, they’re going to do everything that they can to get away.
While they’re not aggressive, this means they aren’t the most fun to own either, especially when you factor in that they’re nocturnal creatures, so you won’t see them do much during the day.
Unlike many morphs that have colors that you’d never find in the wild, Dumeril’s boas still possess their natural appearance, and this is something that many collectors love about them.
They have mottled brown, tan, and black bodies that help them blend into the foliage in the wild, but it also means they’ll blend in extremely well in their enclosure. The different color spots give them a beautiful appearance that many owners love.
How to Take Care of a Dumeril’s Boa
Despite their larger size, the Dumeril’s boa doesn’t require an extremely large tank. A tank that’s 4 feet long, 2 feet wide, and about 14 inches tall is ideal because this gives them enough space to roam without overwhelming them.
Be sure to add small logs, bark, and other hide boxes for them so they can hide throughout the day and feel more comfortable.
You’ll need to spot-clean the enclosure at least once a week, and you should do a thorough cleaning of everything about once a month.
While you don’t need a UVB light for your snake, these lights do help your snake develop vitamin D, which aids calcium absorption. You need to mimic natural lighting as much as possible, which means at least 12 hours of light each day.
While your boa is likely to hide and sleep during these times, it’s still a crucial part of keeping them happy and healthy.
Heating (Temperature & Humidity)
While the Dumeril’s boa is cold-blooded like all snakes, they like things a bit warmer than the average snake. They need a basking area of about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but even the cooler areas of the tank should be about 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
While humidity is essential, they don’t need as much as some other snakes. Aim for between 40% and 60% humidity, so they can shed their skin easily when they need to but not suffer from scale rot.
While newspaper and paper towels might not create the most visually appealing substrate, it’s one of the best options for your Dumeril’s boa. As an added perk, it’s extremely easy to clean and replace.
If you want a more visually appealing substrate, you can use cypress mulch or aspen shavings. Avoid pine and cedar mulch at all costs. Pine and cedar can cause neurological reactions in your boa that can kill them.
|Tank Type||70-gallon tank — 4’ x 2’ x 14”|
|Lighting||UVB lighting (optional)|
|Heating||90-degree-Fahrenheit basking area, 85-degree-Fahrenheit cool area, and 40–60% humidity|
|Best Substrate||Newspaper and paper towels|
Feeding Your Dumeril’s Boa
While you can feed your boa a wide array of foods, in captivity, all they need is appropriately sized mice or rats to thrive. Always feed your snake frozen or thawed mice/rats because feeding them live animals can injure or even kill your snake.
You only need to feed your boa about once every 2 weeks, as long as you’re feeding them a large enough rodent at each feeding time. Never attempt to handle your boa before or after feeding them.
|Mice/rats||100% of diet|
Keeping Your Dumeril’s Boa Healthy
Like all snakes, the Dumeril’s boa is an extremely hardy creature as long as you take care of them properly. This means keeping the tank at the proper humidity level, keeping up with cleanings, and not overfeeding them.
However, if you do notice any of the following symptoms, you need to take your snake to a vet that specializes in exotic animals as soon as possible.
Common Health Issues
If you properly care for your Dumeril’s boa, there’s no reason that they can’t live for at least 20 years and even get close to the 30-year mark.
This is something that you need to keep in mind when purchasing a Dumeril’s boa because rehoming a larger and older snake can be challenging. The last thing that you or your snake want to deal with later is finding a new home.
As far as breeding snakes goes, the Dumeril’s boa is easier than most. You should keep males and females separate until getting ready to breed, usually during the cooling down period before winter brumation.
Give them several opportunities to copulate, and then you’ll need to wait. Female Dumeril’s boas have a gestation period of about 9 months. Keep in mind that females hold their eggs inside them the entire time and have a live birth. As soon as the babies are born, you need to separate them into different enclosures, or else cannibalism can occur.
Finally, both males and females reach sexual maturity around 4 years old, so don’t expect them to breed before that.
Are Dumeril’s Boas Friendly? Our Handling Advice
As far as snakes go, the Dumeril’s boa is among the friendliest that you can have. They are skittish more than aggressive, although you need to be careful of accidentally invoking a feeding response.
This is why it’s incredibly important to thoroughly wash your hands before and after handling them. Since these snakes are so skittish, take your time when first starting to handle them, and get them used to a snake hook before holding them by hand.
Slowly extend handling times from there to get your boa used to it. Eventually, you shouldn’t have to deal with any aggressive or defensive tendencies.
Shedding & Brumation: What to Expect
Like most snakes, when your Dumeril’s boa sheds, they should lose all their skin at one time. If they’re shedding in patches, you need to up the humidity in their enclosure. Before shedding, your boa will likely lose their appetite and this is completely normal.
It’s best to have your Dumeril’s boa enter brumation heading into the winter. To achieve this, all you need to do is lower the temperature of the tank a few degrees at a time.
During brumation, your Dumeril’s boa will likely become more lethargic and eat less, which is completely normal. To bring them out of brumation, simply raise the temperature of the tank a few degrees at a time in the spring.
How Much Do Dumeril’s Boas Cost?
If you’re in the market for a Dumeril’s Boa, do yourself a favor and shop around. You can find these snakes for as little as $200 or as much as $800, depending on where and when you’re shopping.
However, keep in mind that finding a reputable breeder is essential too. Otherwise, you might have to deal with a sick snake or one with genetic issues as soon as you get them.
Care Guide Summary
If you’re looking for an easy-to-care-for snake that you don’t need to spend a ton of time with to keep them happy, the Dumeril’s boa is an outstanding choice.
While they’re timid by nature, they rarely bite, so you don’t have to worry about an aggressive snake. This makes them an excellent choice for beginners and experienced collectors alike!
Featured Image Credit: Matt Gibson, Shutterstock