The Lifespan of Pet Columbian Red-Tail Boas

Although not totally arboreal, red-tails like a few branches to hang out on.
Although not totally arboreal, red-tails like a few branches to hang out on. (Image: Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Colombian red-tailed boas have decades-long lives in captivity -- largely because of quality veterinary care, proper feeding, clean housing and security from predators. Many aspects go into their care, and faltering on any care requirements can greatly shorten your pet's longevity.

General Information

Colombian red-tailed boas are medium-sized constrictors common in the pet trade. The common name "Colombian" is often used to reference two of nine subspecies of boa constrictor: Boa constrictor constrictor and Boa constrictor imperator. The latter is more often called the Colombian or common constrictor, while the former reaches greater lengths. These large snakes feed on mammals, amphibians, smaller reptiles and birds in the wild; their captive diet typically consists of rats and rabbits.


The red-tailed boa can live for decades, like many snakes and reptiles. These large constrictors can live up to 40 years in captivity, so expect your 2-foot-long baby Colombian boa to live at least 30 years. In the wild, these snakes live maybe 20 years, so proper care can extend their natural lifespan by 50 to 100 percent.

Life Cycle

As solitary creatures, red-tails spend most of their lives separate from conspecifics except during mating season. Males become sexually mature at 18 months, females at 3 years. Females will only seek out mates when they are in good health due to the energy they expend during mating and pregnancy. Like all boas, Colombian red-tailed boas give birth to live young. The babies are capable of fending for themselves after being alive for only a short time.


These snakes are large, sometimes growing over 10 feet depending on which subspecies you have. Females, however, generally reach lengths between 7 and 9 feet; males typically grow to 6 to 8 feet long. Their large size requires a large enclosure: 24 cubic feet is the minimum for an adult. They require a basking area that is approximately 10 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature in their enclosure and enough floor space to keep their bodies away from the heat source.

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