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Should I own a boa?

Should I own a boa?

Shel Silverstein once wrote a poem about being eaten by a boa constrictor.  Obviously, he didn't have fond feelings towards boas.  There are, however, people who are fond of boas, and who do own and care for them.  

Should you own a boa constrictor? Well, that depends. First, do you like snakes? If you don't like snakes, then no, you shouldn't own a boa constrictor.

If you like snakes, and have decided that you want a boa constrictor, consider these facts before making your investment:

Your average boa constrictor lives for 30 years or more.
Its average full-grown length is 10 feet. 
It can be a thick as a person's leg.
It feeds on mice, rats, and rabbits.
It will urinate and defecate like a large dog.

Still want a boa constrictor? Okay, here's what you need to do:
Look for a boa that is captive bred, not caught from the wild. Captive bred boas are usually more docile than those from the wild. They also have less chance of being ill with mites, ticks, or other diseases.
Does the animal have clear, firm skin? Clear eyes? Clean vent?
Does it actively flick its tongue when handled?
Does it grip you gently, but firmly when being held?
Is it alert to its surroundings?

If you have inspected the boa and decide you want to own it, you need to know how to feed it and how to house it.

Boas mostly eat mice and rats. A full-grown boa can also feed on rabbits. Some boas also enjoy chicken. Whatever food you choose, it should be either freshly killed or freshly thawed. A boa constrictor two years old or younger can be fed every seven to ten days, an adult boa can be fed every ten to fourteen days. 

Where should your boa live? An adult boa can live in an enclosure three to six feet long, 24 inches deep and 18 inches high. It should have a heat pad connected to a thermostat set at 90 degrees Farenheit. Make sure your boa can get away from the heat in their cage so that it can regulate its body temperature. Include a hide box, a box where your boa can have a place of privacy. Put some shelves in the enclosure so your boa can have the opportunity to climb.  Cover the bottom of the boa's house with several layers of substrate, such as newspaper, mulch, or indoor/outdoor carpet. Keep the ambient temperature around 85 degrees Farenheit. 

Make sure you provide your boa constrictor with fresh water. The water bowl you use should be big enough for the boa to get in and soak. Boas should also be misted every few days.
Boa constrictors should only be owned by people who have the time and the resources to care for them properly. If you have the time, have the resources, and enjoy snakes, then start looking for your boa constrictor.

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