Brazilian rainbow boas are a popular snake for their stunning colors and easy care. But don’t be deceived—although rainbow boas do quite well in captivity, they can be temperamental, especially as small snakes. Once they mature and learn that you aren’t the enemy, they aren’t as aggressive.
All in all, owning a reptile like a rainbow boa can be very rewarding. Pet ownership isn’t just fun, either, since adopting a pet like a rainbow boa can lower your blood pressure, heart rate and risk of heart disease.
The thing is, you have to do some research in order to give your snake a long, happy life. That’s why we put together this guide on the ideal enclosure habitat for rainbow boas. Keep reading for answers to your FAQs, habitat must-haves and rainbow boa care tips to keep your scaly friend happy and healthy.
What Size of Tank/Enclosure Does a Brazilian Rainbow Boa Need?
Baby rainbow boas need a 10 to 25-gallon tank. As the snake matures, it’ll need a larger enclosure. You may eventually want a 6-by-2-by-2-foot tank for your rainbow boa. As these snakes tend to be shy, you should include a cave-style box where they can hide. They do like to crawl, so consider adding climbable branches and vines to your setup.
Our favorite rainbow boa enclosure when you’re starting out is the Repti Zoo Double Hinge 24-gallon Glass Terrarium. This enclosure will keep your rainbow boa secure despite any escape attempts, and it provides plenty of room for your snake to grow.
Do Rainbow Boas Need a Heating Pad?
No, heating pads aren’t ideal for rainbow boa care. It’s true that rainbow boas naturally live in the Amazon, meaning they’re used to higher temperatures and humidity than most homes.
Unfortunately, most heating pads don’t provide the ambient temperature your snake needs. Ideally, you want to provide gradient heat through the tank, from 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so that the snake can regulate its own temperature by moving to warmer or cooler spots.
So, instead of a heating pad, you’ll want a habitat thermometer for both the bottom (cool zone) of the tank and the top (warm zone) of the tank. During the day, the warm zone of your tank should create a hot spot between 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool zone should stay between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
At night, you’ll want a universal tank temperature of 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Having both a basking lamp and a nighttime bulb is the best way to create this environment. We suggest pairing the Zoo Med Repti Basking Spot Lamp with the Zoo Med Nightlight Red Reptile Bulb to cover all your bases.
Do Rainbow Boas Need UVB Light?
Rainbow boas don’t technically need UV lights. They’re nocturnal and don’t need nighttime light so long as their enclosure has the right ambient temperature. That said, display lighting can make your snake a showpiece during the day.
You should also know that some rainbow boa owners use red bulbs or basking bulbs to help maintain proper temperatures. Basically, while a UV light isn’t necessary for your rainbow boa, it can simplify your pet care. Providing a UVB bulb during the day is a great way to boost your rainbow boa’s health.
Our top choice is the Zoo Med ReptiSun 18″ UVB lamp. The size and design make it an easy addition to any rainbow boa enclosure.
How Much Humidity Do Rainbow Boas Need?
Rainbow boas need enclosure humidity at 95% as juveniles and 75% as adults. Also, when they’re shedding at any age, you may need to increase the humidity in the habitat to 90% for maximum comfort.
Creating this humidity requires placing a few specific items into your rainbow boa enclosure. First, a hygrometer like the Imagitarium Humidity Gauge can measure the levels so you aren’t guessing.
Adding plants and substrate like Zoo Med Coconut Fiber Substrate can help keep the habitat more humid. But in many areas, you’ll need to raise the level by misting the environment. The easiest way is by hand, with the Conceptual Creations Mister Spray Bottle.
Living in an especially dry climate? Or maybe you’re gone at work for most of each day? If so, you may want an auto-misting system like the Exo-Terra Monsoon Solo II Programmable Misting System.
Lastly, your rainbow boa will need a bowl of water that’s replaced daily to minimize the risk of illness. The Imagitarium X-Large Reptile Dish is great because it’s weighted, so your snake can’t tip it over. It’s also big enough to soak in, which is how most snakes like to hydrate.
What Does a Brazilian Rainbow Boa Eat?
Rainbow boas do well on thawed, frozen mice. Younger snakes eat weekly, but once the snake is an adult, you can offer food about every 10 days. Avoid handling snakes after feeding, because they can regurgitate their food.
Brazilian rainbow boas are beautiful snakes that do well in the right habitat. Once you get that under control, you should have a friend for life, because they can live 25 years or more in captivity.
How To Set Up a Brazilian Rainbow Boa Enclosure
Now that you have answers to all your rainbow boa FAQs, you’re ready to construct the ideal rainbow boa habitat. Here’s your step-by-step guide to creating the perfect rainbow boa enclosure:
- Lay substrate on tank’s bottom and add a hiding spot. Natural substrates like sphagnum moss are ideal because they help regulate humidity. A hideaway like a cork bark tube with a bit of damp moss will keep your snake cozy.
- Add in climbable vines and branches. Jungle vines and branches should rest against the enclosure’s walls so your rainbow boa can climb up and down.
- Set up day and night lighting. If you use a UVB light, it should be on during the day rather than at night. Set up your basking lamp so your snake has the necessary cool zone and warm zone in the enclosure.
- Add humidity gauge and auto-mister if using. For an auto-mister, it’s easiest to get it programmed and set up before your rainbow boa comes home. Spend a day making sure it’s set up and working properly.
- Place and fill untippable water dish. Remember to change the water daily and wash the dish at least weekly.
- Make sure to have food on-hand before bringing your snake home. In most situations, you can purchase your snake and its food at the same shop. If this isn’t the case for you, avoid unnecessary stress by stocking up before bringing your rainbow boa home.
- Spot-clean your rainbow boa enclosure daily and deep clean weekly. Wipe up obvious spills, feces and shed skin daily. Weekly, wash everything with hot water and a bit of dish soap. You can also soak non-porous decorations in a 10% bleach solution, rinse with hot water and allow to dry.
Rainbow boas are beautiful snakes that do well in the right habitat. Once you build the ideal Brazilian rainbow boa enclosure, you’ll have a friend for life, because they can live 25 years or more in captivity.