Common boa, Boa constrictor imperator


Common names Common boa, BCI
Scientific name Boa constrictor imperator
Country Central and South America
Captive-bred Yes
Adult size 2.5-3m (8-10ft)
Natural habitat Forest habitats
Housing 240 x 90 x 90cm (8 x 3 x 3ft)
Ideal temperature 32°C (89°F) (warm end); 22°C (71°F) (cool end)
UVI 2-3
Ideal humidity 60-70%
Diet Carnivorous
Average lifespan 20-30 years
Personality Docile, can be feisty when young
Ease of handling Easy
Cohabitable No


Do Common boas make good pets?

The Common boa, Boa constrictor imperator is a large species of snake indigenous to Central and South America. Despite their large size, Common boas are generally quite docile and will tolerate being handled, although younger individuals can often be a little snappy and require some taming down to become the gentle giant they are often portrayed as.

Common boas are characterised by a stunning brown and burgundy pattern along the length of their body, with the tail changing slightly in pattern and generally being a bit more vivid, making these a truly striking snake to look at. A number of artificially bred morphs are also available of this species, such as Hypo, Anery and Motley, meaning you are sure to find one that is appealing to you.

What size vivarium does a Common boa need?

Due to their large size, Common boas should be provided with a large enclosure to match. In nature, this species can often be found basking and feeding in the canopy and are considered to be semi-arboreal, particularly with younger, more slender individuals. At Swell Reptiles, we recommend a minimum adult enclosure size of 240 x 90 x 90cm (8 x 3 x 3ft), which will not only provide your Common boa with plenty of horizontal space but enough vertical space to add some arboreal perches and hiding spots.

We do not stock an enclosure large enough to suit an adult Common boa, which is usually required to be a custom build. However, the VivExotic Viva+ Arboreal Vivarium Large Deep is not a bad choice for a young and growing individual.

Do Common boas need to be heated?

Common boas are ectotherms, meaning they rely on external sources to control their body temperature, therefore, captive enclosures should provide them with a thermogradient to allow this. The ideal basking temperature for a Common boa is 32°C (89°F), with their cool end being closer to 22°C (71°F).

Due to the large enclosure size requirements, heat mats are not recommended for this species, as they do not tend to work well enough to warm such a large area. Therefore, an overhead heating system such as a heat bulb and dimming thermostat or ceramic heater and pulse thermostat is required. Depending on your set-up, you may also wish to protect this with a heat guard if your heating equipment will be inside the enclosure.


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