How to Breed Red Tail Boas

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Columbian red tail boas are a type of snake that are immensely popular in the pet trade. Often purchased as tiny hatchlings, these constrictors can grow up to 9 feet in length given the proper conditions and, though naturally aggressive, can be tamed with the right amount of care. Because of their beauty and popularity, red tail boas are popularly bred, though this can be a difficult task. There are many preparations and precise actions one must take in order to breed red tail boas, and though it is a task that will require a little bit of luck, it is far from impossible.

Things You'll Need

  • Breeding enclosure, 75+ gallon tank
  • Heat lamp
  • 3 heat bulbs: 75, 100 and 150 watt
  • Under-tank heater
  • Place the female boa into a separate breeding enclosure, independent from the male; the enclosure should be at least 4 feet long and have amenities standard to boa tanks, including a water pan, proper substrate like carpet or newspaper, a shelter and a heat lamp. Use the 100-watt bulb to keep the temperature around 85 degrees F. Make sure to use other heat sources, like an under-tank heater or more lamps, to reach this temperature.

  • Increase her food intake starting in mid-July by at least a third if not double. She will rarely or never eat during her pregnancy, and overfeeding her ensures an abundance of fat reserves.

  • Increase the wattage of the bulb during the day to 150 to make the daytime high temperature around 90 degrees F in October, turning the light off at night and aiming for a nighttime temperature of around 70 degrees F. This begins a heating-cooling cycle she may experience in the wild.

  • Introduce the male boa to the enclosure in the third week of December. Mating should take place over the next several months.

  • Reverse the heating-cooling cycle in February, replacing the 150-watt bulb with the 75-watt bulb to make the daytime temperature around 80 degrees F, and increase the heat at night to around the same using an under-tank heater.

  • Remove the male boa in March. They should have successfully mated by then.

  • Keep the temperature at a constant 80 degrees F over the next 4 to 8 months.

  • Remove the babies and place them in separate enclosures when they are born to ensure their safety. They are born live and may be crushed under their mother's weight; they also have a tendency to fight among themselves. The babies will typically shed after a week to 10 days and should begin accepting food after that time period.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember that breeding red tails involves just as much luck as it does skill, and that mother nature must take its course. Realize that the male and female breeding pair should not be familiar with each other before the male is introduced, as it is the introduction of this new male that initiates the breeding in the first place, along with the reproduction of their natural heating conditions.

References

  • Photo Credit Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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