|Here are two ways too
Treat For Mites
| 5% Sevin Dust
I clean the cage and everything in it with bleach water, and then I dry it out.
I put my Boas in a Rubbermaid tub and sprinkle a lite dusting of Sevin dust 5%
(NOT THE 10%!) on them. I let it set overnight, then I give my Boas a warm bath
to clean them off then I put them back in there cage. I also put a light dusting of
Sevin dust 5% in the cage and leave it in for about 1 or 2 weeks. Then I clean the
cage one more time with bleach water to get all the Sevin dust and DEAD MITES
out. During this two week period I also change the water daily. This way the
reptiles will have fresh, clean water to drink every day. I know some people say
Sevin dust is not safe for your Boas, but I have had nothing but good luck with
this. I have had boas since 1979, and have not had any bad experiences from this.
Sevin dust even says you can use there product on your dogs and cats for fleas and
tics. My veterinarian is the one who recommended Sevin dust to me. You can buy
Sevin dust at any home and garden store. Lowe's and Home Depot also sell it.
This is a very good feeding care sheet that I have found on the internet posted by
Jonathan Brady on November 13, 2002 on Kingsnake.com I changed a few thing
but for the most part it is what Jonathan posted.
Feeding regimens will differ based on age, size, sex, and sub-species/locality.
The first thing you should take into consideration when determining a feeding
regimen is the size of the boa now and the size it will be as an adult. If you have an
island form of BCI or other dwarfish form, you should know that in general, you
do not need to feed these boas as large a prey item per feeding, nor do you have to
feed them as often. These boas have evolved over time to take food in limited
quantities and sizes and to remain relatively small. In general, they attain sizes in
the range of 3.5-6 feet. If you have a mainland form of BCI, you should realize that
these boas grow quickly and attain adult size early in life, say 3-4 years. Adult size
is usually between 6-9 feet although growth beyond this range is definitely not
unheard of. This is in contrast with the BCC’s which attain adult size in 4-6+ years
and generally reach sizes of 6-10 or 12 feet with some rare specimens reaching
lengths of 13+ feet. These boas should also be fed less often than mainland BCI
because they too (like the dwarf BCI) have evolved to grow less quickly.
Now that you have determined the adult size of your boa and how long it will take
for them to reach that size, you need to evaluate the current size of your boa. The
size of the prey item you feed to your boa should be no bigger around than the
largest portion of your boa at mid-body. THIS IS A MAXIMUM SIZE for BCI.
For BCI’s “dwarf” and BCC, I recommend choosing prey items that are slightly
smaller than this size. I recommend this for BCC because they have much more
volatile stomachs and generally can’t handle oversized prey items and will often
regurgitate the prey after feeding. I recommend this for dwarf BCI because this is
what their body has evolved to take. For mainland BCI, you can be a bit more
aggressive and feed prey items that are equal in girth to the snakes body at the
largest point without food in it. Mainland BCI’s should be fed on a schedule of
every 7+ days until they reach about 2.5-3 feet. After that time, you should feed
them every 7-12 days until they reach about 4-4.5 feet. Once they reach this size,
males are generally ready to breed but females need a little while longer, they
should be at least 5.5 feet long before attempting to breed them (and this is only if
they are a slow growing individual that doesn’t seem likely to attain a length much
greater than the present length). After they reach 4.5 feet, I would recommend
feeding every 10 days for females and every 12 days for males. If you are planning
on breeding, you may consider increasing the frequency of feeding to every 3-5
days for 2-3 weeks for females, as this will help them gain needed body fat reserves
and bulk to get them through gestation and birth. Allow at least 2, and preferably 3
days after feeding before handling your boa again. This will allow the boa to digest
its meal at least partially and be less susceptible to regurgitation. When debating
over what length of time to allow between feedings, you should think about how
large you would like your snake to be when it is full grown. If you want your snake
to be at the upper end of the size range, feed towards the low end of the scale. The
opposite is true if you want a snake that is on the smaller side of the spectrum.
Also, males tend to stay smaller than females and do not need to be fed as often. It
has also been theorized that smaller, less robust males make the best breeders, so it
pays to follow a healthy feeding regimen. Keep in mind that some boas will attain
very small or very large sizes regardless of how often you feed them. This can
usually be attributed to their genes and/or surrounding environment. If you have a
female hatchling Colombian BCI that came from large parents and you want her to
reach a large healthy size, then you should start off feeding her every 5 days until
she is 3 feet long. Then keep a feeding regimen of every 7 days until she is fully
grown (unless you notice her getting fat, then cut back). This should give you a
large healthy boa that is not obese. Dwarf BCI’s and BCO’s are going to be very
similar to the mainland BCI’s in feeding frequency, but at different sizes. For
hatchlings to animals approaching 2.5-3 feet, feed every 6-8 days. After they attain
about 3 feet of length, you can cut back to about every 10 days until they hit 4 feet
at which time you should cut back to every 12-14 days. Same rule applies for
breeding females and one should also remember individual differences. Allow at
least 2, and preferably 3 days after feeding before handling your boa again. This
will allow the boa to digest its meal at least partially and be less susceptible to
regurgitation. BCC’s and BCA’s will be different all around. I recommend feeding
hatchlings every 10 days for the first year of their life, but keep a careful eye out
for regurgitation. At about a year to a year and a half of age, or 3-3.5 feet, you
may want to consider increasing feeding to every 7-10 days. Again, same rule
applies for breeding females. Please remember this sub-species tendency to
regurgitate! I can not stress this enough: DO NOT OVERFEED YOUR BCC’S OR
BCA’S!!! Allow at least 3, and preferably 4+ days after feeding before handling
your boa again. This will allow the boa to digest it’s meal at least partially and be
less susceptible to regurgitation. This schedule is by no means a die-hard plan. If
you notice your boa is lacking fat reserves (the tail thins out pretty dramatically
after the cloaca, even after passing urates or a bowel movement) then deduct 2 days
from your cycle and feed more often. The reverse is also true, if you notice your
boa seems fat, space your feedings out a bit more and see if this remedies the
situation. There is NO animal on the planet that is healthy when fat, please
remember that! (Excluding hibernation, of course). Obesity can lead to a wide
array of health problems and even death. The ultimate goal of keeping boas in
captivity is to provide a healthy life for them, not to “get’em as big as ya can!”
If your boa regurgitates, DO NOT FEED IT AGAIN FOR AT LEAST 2 WEEKS. I
can’t stress this enough. You must give its stomachs time to settle down and repair
itself. Think about it, when you throw up, do you really want to eat right away?
Neither do they. Instinctually, they may eat, but that’s all it is, an instinct. And
feeding them will do much more harm than good. Usually, they throw up the new
meal as well and begin to dehydrate. If they regurgitate often enough, it begins to
develop into a syndrome and it can be fatal.
After the initial two week waiting period to feed the next meal, feed a smaller than
normal prey item. For example, if you feed large rats, feed a medium or even
better, a small rat instead. Then wait another two weeks and feed another small rat.
Another two weeks and another small rat and if all goes well, you can step up to a
medium rat two weeks later and then another medium rat 12 days later and then a
large rat 12 days later and then you can resume a normal feeding schedule while
keeping a careful eye on your boa. These feeding schedules have been constructed
with the optimal health and longevity of your boa in mind. Slight deviation from
this may be acceptable depending on the individual snake.
Live, Pre-Killed (P/K), or Frozen-Thawed (F/T)?
This is another issue that is hotly debated at times. Many people feed live because
they get a kick out of watching the prey item die. While I must admit that it is
impressive to watch a snake hunt down, hone in, strike, constrict, and swallow their
prey items, it should by no means be considered entertainment. Live prey should
never be fed to your boa if it will take P/K or F/T, or if it is on a winter fast and is
otherwise healthy. If you must feed live prey, please be prepared with something to
keep the prey from biting or clawing your boa. The few times I have fed live, I
either stunned them, or have been prepared with a flathead screwdriver to drive
through the prey’s head in case they bite my snake. I don’t play around when it
comes to my snakes health and just flick the mouse or rat in the head (always a
mouse in my past cases), I literally drive the screwdriver through the mouse’s
mouth or skull and kill it myself. If that means I interrupt the feeding process and
my snake wont eat it, so be it. I’d rather have a hungry snake than a blind, tongue-
less, eviscerated snake like this
That was done by a rat by the way. Obviously, this owner was VERY negligent and
left the rat with the snake overnight, but it does illustrate that rats can and will do
P/K prey has the advantage of not being able to fight back when attacked by your
snake. It also has the advantage of closely simulating a live animal to your snakes
senses in that it has exactly the same body temperature as a live animal would
(because you just killed it). That’s about all the advantages there are. If you are
only concerned about the chance of a prey item hurting your boa, go with P/K
prey. If however, you are concerned with other aspects of your snake’s safety and
other facets of savings, please continue reading the F/T section.
So, you have decided to feed F/T prey items to your boa? GREAT! Let me list off
some of the benefits:
• A dead prey item can’t attack and hurt or kill your snake
• Purchasing F/T prey over the net is much cheaper than buying each of your prey
items from a pet store (often saving as much as 80% or more)
• All living parasites that the prey item may have had when it was alive are now
dead because of the freezing process. However, the unborn eggs of the parasites
may still have the potential to hatch after the animal is thawed out and warmed up.
Unfortunately, there is no way to keep this from happening which is why you
should purchase from a reputable rodent vendor who in all likelihood, does not
have these sorts of problems plaguing their rodent colonies.
• Keeping 50 rodents in your freezer takes up much less space than keeping and
feeding 50 rodents in your house! Smells better too!
I could keep going, but I think you get the idea.
The process to thawing out the prey varies from person to person. Some people
take out what they need for a nights feeding in the morning and let it thaw to room
temperature all day. Others, like myself, take out what they need when they need it,
put it in a large Tupperware container and run cold water on them until the
container is filled up. Come back when the prey is thawed out (if you pick it up and
shake it, it moves freely) and run some fairly warm water in place of the cold water.
Let the prey items sit in the water for about 10 minutes or so (much less for very
small prey) and then run some fairly hot water over them and let them sit in it for
about 1 minute. This process is VERY important. DO NOT go straight to hot water
on a frozen prey item to save time because this severely weakens the lining of the
stomach and the skin and when and if your snake strikes and coils around the prey
the stomach and intestines will come spilling out all over the place. Not only will
you have to clean up the cage, but you may also have to wipe these entrails off of
your boa which is a daunting prospect considering the fact that you are going to
smell like mouse or rat and your snake really really likes to strike at warm things
that smell like mouse or rat. Next step would be to remove the prey items from the
hot water and dry them off. I place mine on a doubled up paper towel and then
blot them from the top with another paper towel. I leave mine just a tad damp
because this will help to ensure that my boas are well hydrated. The down side to
this is that by placing these prey items in the water, you have washed off some of
the natural scent that your boa picks up. To avoid that, you can place the rodents
in a zip-lock type of bag and then put them in the water to be thawed out and
warmed up. I would recommend doing this if you are trying to convert from live or
P/K. Once the boas have established themselves on the F/T prey items warmed in
that manner, you can skip the zip-lock bags if you want to. Next, take the prey
item and place it in the cage to be eaten by your boa. Some boas may need the prey
item dangled in front of them before they will strike, constrict, and swallow it. Do
not use your hand for this. Use tongs or commercially available hemostats.
Feed in the cage or in a separate feeding box?
I read all the websites that advocated feeding boas in a separate feeding box to
avoid the boa making an association with the cage opening and food, and thus
mistaking your hand for food when you go to pick up the boa. So, initially I began
feeding all my boas in separate containers. Then, I figured out by reading and some
testing that the theory is totally unfounded and untrue. It’s also a BAD idea!
Here’s why. When are you likely to be struck by an otherwise docile boa? When it
expects to get fed (that’s why the previous theory makes sense). What is it
expecting when it smells prey (being in the feeding container) and senses warmth
(your hand)? It is expecting food, so it strikes at your hand when you are trying to
remove it from the feeding container. Also, many boas will regurgitate their food if
they are disturbed after eating (ie, moved from one enclosure to another).
Especially susceptible animals would be BCC’s and BCA’s. The others can have
these problems too, although it’s slightly less likely. Some will say that the boas
will smell food in their regular enclosure even after feeding and still strike at you,
thus providing another argument for feeding in a separate container. I say, no, the
strong odor has usually dissipated by the time it’s okay to handle your boa again
(3 days after feeding, more for BCC’s and BCA’s).
| Bedding Spray
I have used Equate Bedding Spray for mites and it works great you can buy this at
Wal-Mart for $3 to $4 and it is used for lice treatment. One thing I like to do is it's
always fun when buying lice spray at Wal-Mart is to lean towards the cashier and
scratch your head. lol
The Equate Bedding Spray is the same stuff as Provent - A - Mite but only a whole
Don't under any circumstance spray this stuff directly on the boa. The fumes will
cause severe neurological disorder and usually very painful death. Remove the
water bowl and the boa and fog the cage with it without soaking the bedding. Just
fog it up and close the cage up tight for an hour or two. After an hour or so you
should be able to put the boa back in. I would wait a day or two before putting the
water bowl back though mostly because I want the boa crawling around in the
treated substrate and not soaking in the water bowl nursing it's bits from the mites.
If you have a really humid cage where the glass or sides of the cage is wet, then you
will need to dry the cage out before treating it. Especially if you have one of those
little boa's that likes to lick up water droplets from the side of the cage. The
Bedding Spray should kill any mite for up to 3 or 4 weeks. Make sure you give
fresh water for your boa to drink every day when using this product.
The spray has 0.50% Permetherin in it and this is what kills the mites.
DO NOT!!!! use the bedding spray with turtles, amphibians, insects, tarantulas or
any arachnids as it will kill them.