The rainbow boa morphs (Epicrates cenchria), are native to the South American region. They are one of the snakes that are most commonly kept as pets. This is partly because of their coat. At different angles, it reflects light to display different colors, just like soap bubbles do.
Rainbow boas are comfortable living in captivity provided the correct environment is set for them. In this article, you will learn everything you need to have in place so that you and your rainbow boa exist as well as possible.
Rainbow boa appearance
There are five major subspecies that the rainbow boa occurs in:
Caatinga rainbow boa
This subspecies was first described in 1945. it does not occur as commonly as other subspecies and is also smaller compared to them.
In addition to its length, it is also set apart by the brown color on its dorsal area and its white walls. The hemipenian bones on the Caatinga rainbow boa are longer than those on the other boas.
Paraguayan rainbow boa
This boa is naturally found south of Brazil in Paraguay and sometimes, north of Argentina.
An adult is around 5 feet long and its markings are usually reddish or brown on yellowish coat color. Some of the Paraguayan bow’s distinct features include five dark lines across its head and a series of circular patterns along its back.
Colombian rainbow boa
This boa’s common habitat is in Trinidad and Tobago, south of Central America, and North f South America. It is even smaller than the coating boa, growing to between 3 and 5 feet at full maturity.
It is mostly brown with an S pattern along its back. These markings tend to disappear as they grow older in some of them.
They also show a phenomenon called the color change. At night, the pattern appears brighter and their bellies look silvery.
Argentine rainbow boa
The Argentine boa has its natural home in the central part of South America. Its appearance is slenderer than the other subspecies. At full maturity, it is about six feet long.
Its body is yellow with brown spots or rings marking it.
Aside from these subspecies, the rainbow boa can occur in morphs. Some of the common morphs are the high red, ghost, arctic, and seib.
Rainbow boa morph temperament
This boa is a nocturnal snake. You will notice very little activity from them during the day but one or two hours after it gets darker, you will start to hear movements in the terrarium as they look for water and a resting spot.
They are also calm and solitary creatures. However, the neonates (newly hatched) tend to nip at the fingers of the one carrying them. This is just a defense mechanism that wears down after a couple of months when they get used to the environment.
If your neonate nips you, it will not be painful but it might jostle you. Try not to drop them as this might cause an injury.
Rainbow boa morphs: How to care for one
It is important to ensure the habitat and meals you prepare are what a rainbow boa needs. This will reduce their stress levels and make the transition into the home easier.
Rainbow boa morph habitat
Here are the things you need to keep in mind as you set up the habitat:
This will depend on the size of the snake. If the enclosure is too large, the snake will feel insecure in an open space and if it is too small, they will feel cramped and uncomfortable.
Neonates and baby boas can be kept in an enclosure that is around 20 inches long, 10 inches wide, and 13 inches tall.
When they grow to about two feet long, increase the terrarium size to about 23 inches long, 16 inches wide, and 6 inches tall.
Fully grown boas between 3 and 6 feet long will be comfortable in a terrarium that measures at least 36 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 21 inches high.
The rainbow boa needs a minimal amount of light. You can set up a 40-watt lamp to face the hot side of the terrarium and turn it off when the boa is not basking.
They don’t need any special lighting but if you are keeping plants in there, you should get some UV light.
Temperature and Humidity
Like every other snake, sometimes your rainbow boa will want to bask and other times, they will want some time in the shade. You should ensure that the terrarium has a hot side and a cold one. The warm side should be between 80° and 85° F and the cold side should be between 75° and 80° F. These temperatures can be set with a heating lamp and regulated with a thermostat.
Proper humidity ensures your snake sheds its skin and remains healthy. Rainbow boas require high levels of humidity so you might need to get a humidifier. Neonates need humidity between 95 and 100% and adults require 90% humid air.
A proper substrate retains moisture while resisting mold. Such substrates include cypress mulch. Add some sphagnum moss for additional moisture.
Feeding your rainbow boa
When in captivity, the boa feeds on thawed mice, rats, and other small rodents. When offering portions, select a rodent that is the size of the largest part of the boa’s body.
For a hatchling, you should offer pinky mice every 5 to 7 days. Grown boas can be fed weekly with a constant feeding schedule. When giving food, use a feeding tool so that the snake does not associate your hand with food and accidentally bite you.
Sometimes the snake will not eat, like when they are shedding. This isn’t a reason to worry as long as they aren’t losing weight.
You should also have a water bowl for their drinking water. Change it constantly, as they tend to soak in the water bowl.
Final thoughts on Rainbow boa morphs
There are plenty of rainbow boa subspecies and morphs available in the market today. When you decide to get yourself one, I hope this article helps you to set up and properly care for it.
If you are looking for content on other snakes, you can read our post on Clown Ball Python: Everything you need to know. If it is foxes you are interested in, you can read our post on Fennec Foxes As Pets.