Do you consider getting a Dumerils Boa as a pet snake? There is a few things you have to know before getting one.
The scientific name of this species is Acrantophis Dumerili. The specific name Dumerili is given in honor of the French herpetologist Andre Marie Constant Dumeril.
Interestingly, the genus ‘Acrantophis’ is attributed to two Greek words. ‘Akrantos’ means lazy or useless, and ‘ophis’ means snake. The snake is probably named so because of a lack of activity or deficient activity.
The adults of this species grow up to 6.5 ft, and the maximum length reported is 8 ft 6 inches. Males have longer skinnier tails, and females generally tend to be large.
They have a gray-brown skin with darker patches. Some snakes have coppery or pinkish colors too. This forms an effective camouflage in the foliage of the forest floor. This way, they can effectively hide from both prey and predators.
The species is threatened with extinction, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora lists it in Appendix I. This means CITES does not permit international trade of the reptile except for research purposes.
It feeds on birds, lizards, small rodents and other snakes as well.
The species reaches sexual maturity within 3-5 years. The female species is ovoviviparous, and it gives birth to a litter of 6-28. The young Dumerils are 12-18 inches long. They are independent after birth and grow very rapidly.
The species is known to be prolific in captivity. Besides, the species, when bred in captivity, is relatively inexpensive. Possibly because it is non-venomous and maintains a calm disposition, it makes for an exotic pet.
So how should you care for the Acrantophis Dumerili?
Taking Care of Your Pet Dumerils Boa
This species of snake is medium in length though it can grow up to 8 feet in length. These snakes are found at the base of trees or bushes. With proper care, these snakes can typically live for as long as 20-30 years.
Caging & Substrate
If you have bought a neonate Dumerils boa, cage them in a 5-10 gallon glass terrarium. Alternatively, they can be kept in a shoebox or sweater-box.
The juvenile Dumerils up to around 3 feet in length can be housed in wood, glass, or a plastic enclosure measuring 2 feet in length by 2 feet deep and 14 inches tall. This species grows rapidly, so for an adult Dumerils Boa, an enclosure measuring 4 feet long by 2 feet deep and 14 inches tall is required.
You can put newspaper, paper towels, brown butcher paper, cypress mulch, or aspen shaving as substrata in your pet’s cage. However, avoid using pine or cedar shavings. The oils in these shavings may damage the snake’s skin. The fumes from it may cause neurological issues. Besides, this species is known to be prone to stress. Things can worsen if the caging substrata are not suitable for the snake’s physiology.
The Dumerils Boa loves to burrow. Hence, you may consider using shredded aspen as a substrate. Shredded aspen provides a soft substrate ideal for burrowing. It is easy to clean too. Make a substrate of 3-6 inches.
Some other substrata to consider are Zoo Med snake aspen, Zilla jungle mix, and Zoo Med Eco Earth. Make it a point to clean the bedding when they defecate. Cleaning the whole thing can be done once a month or so. Clean with vinegar and water or Zoo Meds wipe out. Then disinfect and change the bedding.
Heat, Light & Temperature
This species of snake does not require special lighting, unlike other tortoise, turtles, and lizards. An ordinary Zoo Med Daylight lamp will also suffice. The average temperature should be on the lower side of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You can provide for a basking spot of 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cold temperatures should be in the range of 70 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal humidity level is between 40%-60%. If the humidity is less than 40%, then this may lead to issues of shedding. If humidity is higher than 60%, it may lead to respiratory problems.
Keep a bowl of water in the center of the enclosure. It will take up the heat from the hot side of the cabinet to maintain the right amount of humidity.
Alternatively, you may use a Zilla heat pad to keep the humidity up.
Dumerils Boas are carnivores. In captivity, they feed on frozen or live prey. If you are feeding frozen food, make sure it is thawed properly. Feed baby pink mice to your baby Dumerils. A feeding of 1-2 times a week is ideal. Baby boas will eat throughout winter so long as they are warm enough. When they are 2-3 months old, reduce the feeding to once-a-week.
While adult boas may go off food, this usually happens during breeding time. Do observe your pet snake’s body weight and overall condition. Feed your boa every two weeks until it resumes eating again.
Feed an adult boa giant to jumbo rats. Adults eat weekly. You can also give frozen/thawed or live rabbits and rats. You may treat them occasionally with fowl too. The prey size should not be more than the largest part of your pet’s body in girth.
Avoid handling your snake for 24 hours after its meals. If you don’t exceed its girth significantly, they tend to eat better and not skip meals. Also, Dumerils Boas have a slower metabolism.
You may notice some behavioral changes in their eating patterns. They do not eat when its shedding time. In such cases, you will have to wait to feed until its shed.
Also, they are shy creatures. You may have to cover their enclosure or leave the room until it has finished eating.
These snakes are very calm and shy by nature. Some of them prefer not being handled. Even before you handle it, give it a couple of days to settle into its new home. Slowly and gradually increase the amount of time your pet is out.
Instead of becoming aggressive when handled, they will try to escape from you. So, when you hold a Dumerils boa, always support its body. Do not touch the top of the head, unless you both have gotten used to each other. Else, it will jerk away.
Another technique you can try is ‘hook training.’ This is a way of conditioning the snake to differentiate between dinner time and handling time. If you intend to handle, use a hook nudge its side to get attention. Hook the snake and pull it towards you. When the snake is 1/3 out of the enclosure, then place your hands on it.