Brazilian Rainbow Boa Facts
Scientific name: Epicrates cenchria
Size: 4 – 7ft
Lifespan: Around 20 – 25 years
Wild Population: 10,000+
Primary Colour: Brown, Black with iridescence
Habitat: South America (Brazil)
Difficulty of Keeping: Moderately High
Optimum environment Temperature: 95°F hotspot with ambient temp of 85°F
What do they eat? Mice & Rats
Eggs or Live birth: Live baring snake.
Venomous: None venomous/ None poisonous
Are they kept in captivity? Yes, not as common as other snakes but constantly increasing in popularity due to their docile nature.
Cost: Ranges between $100 – $1,500 dependant on morph.
The snake that always looks like it is photoshopped because it is so beautiful. The Brazilian rainbow boa is an amazon reptile and is famous for its iridescence which looks like oil in water.
The BRB is a great pet snake, as for first time owners it is a good snake for some and not so much for other, after hours and hours of debate if a Brazilian rainbow boa is a good first time snake, we come to the conclusion that if you are willing to learn the strict husbandry of the snake, there is no reason why this could not be your perfect pet snake.
The Brazilian rainbow boa (BRB) as a species are mostly docile and tolerate handling well, there is the occasional exception, but this is rare, and they will calm down with consistent gentle handling and age.
As babies is when the BRB is most likely to be vulnerable to health issues, they will dehydrate very fast and their enclosure must be monitored and kept at the right temps and humidity levels being just as important. With age they actually become quite hardy snakes and thought your standards should be kept high, slight fluctuations is less likely to be harmful.
The colours are like Picasso has personally created the snake and put it in the wild. The colours are from and orange/brown to black circles or spots. BRB’s also have the oil effect when the sun catches them right. These are not particularly big snakes growing to an average of 5-foot-long and some growing all the way up to 6 and a half feet. This sounds large but is small in comparison to the real big snakes.
What you will need to keep as a pet
- Vivarium (Ideally glass but we will cover this in more detail below)
- Heat Source
- Water Dish
- Spray Bottle (Important)
- Branches and Décor
We always recommend glass to start, it is more likely you will be getting a hatchling Brazilian rainbow boa so glass will make your life easier because maintaining the right temps and humidity will be much easier for you.
The size of the enclosure is dependent on the snake’s size. If you are unsure what the guideline is, here you go: the total length of the snake plus approx. 10% extra should equal the length and depth of the enclosure and not be smaller. Going slightly bigger is always better and more cost effective. Too big and the snake will become stressed.
Glass also has another pro over the wooden counterpart which is surviving longer after repeatedly being sprayed with water to increase the humidity levels. Wood after a year or 2 will show signs of rotting and if this is left 5 years this can become a health risk for your snake.
Cleaning is also easier in a glass enclosure as finding the snake poop is much easier and stands out like a sore thumb when your snake defecates.
Due to the high humidity requirements and ambient air temp needs, your Brazilian rainbow boas cage is best heated with a bulb which will create a more suitable temp within their caging. A heat mat does not have sufficient power to heat the enclosure correctly.
The thermostat that is needed for a bulb heated cage is a “dimming thermostat” this will adjust the power going to the bulb by a % rather than turning it on and off all of the time. In doing this the bulbs life will be lengthen because the bulb is not having to relight itself.
We recommend investing in a high-quality thermostat as this piece of equipment is important in maintaining a health environment for your Brazilian rainbow boa to thrive in.
In the wild, Brazilian rainbow boas’ temps will range between 70+ to 95 degrees F, replicating this is vital to the success of keeping a Brazilian rainbow boa in captivity.
The easiest way of achieving these temps is to set up the warm side of the vivarium correct, and the cooler side will naturally achieve 70+ degrees. We set out to a consistent 89 degrees on the thermostat and it has worked for us for over 30 years of keeping this species of snake.
Bedding / Substrate
You should be familiar with the most common substrates for snakes if you are considering a BRB. Beddings that hold water will help you keep the vivarium to a higher humidity level; this will ensure that your pet snake can thrive in its enclosure.
The best options we use is cypress mulch and orchid bark.
How Big Do They Get?
This is like asking how long a piece of string is but there they range between 4ft – 7ft long on average. Females tend to have more girth than an equivalent male.
BRB’s are classed as a medium sized snake not large, they can weight up to 7kg for a large specimen.
Handling a Brazilian Rainbow Boa
Brazilian rainbow boas get a bad rep for handling and being quite a difficult snake to begin with. This is not true, BRB’s are not recommended to beginners because of the environment requirements not that are a hard snake to handle.
Like with any snake, starting young will make your life easier and give your pet Brazilian rainbow boas brain time to adjust to their handling routine and the scent of humans.
If you are getting a slightly older snake, start slow and respect that they are unable to adapt to you as fast as other pets like dogs, but with gentle and persistent handling, your snake will begin to tolerate it and the reward for it is that much sweeter!
What They Eat
A hatchling BRB will east a pinkie or fuzzy mouse. Please note not to feed live prey to your snake as they can be fussy eaters and an alive rodent within their enclosure could cause serious injury to the snake and unneeded pain for the prey.
The best rule of thumb for any snake is using their body as a guideline to the size of food to offer your snake. Do not go over 20% larger than the thickest part of the body.
Here at ReptileKingdoms, we offer food that is as close to the size of the snake’s body or slightly under.