Boa Breeding

I have had a pair of boa constrictors that I got as hatchling for a while and now I am interested in trying my luck at breeding. This will be my first try at breeding any reptiles and I really want to start off on the right foot.

I have read that boa constrictors can be rather difficult to breed successfully but I have become very fond of the boa constrictor as a species and so I would love to be able to breed them. I have read a couple of books on the subject but there are a lot vague descriptions and contradicting information. I really don’t know any reptile experts so I thought I would try sending in my question to the newsletter.

I would like to know from a professional breeder what techniques they use to breed their boa constrictors successfully and any preparation that might be involved.

Thanks Anthony

By: Marc Harris

I’ve been keeping reptiles since I was 4 years old. My first reptilian experience was 2 Red Eared sliders that my mother purchased for me at the dime store. Unfortunately they met an untimely demise in a bowl cleaning accident.


Since that time I have been hooked. I have always had this passion. I have personally maintained more than 150 species and if you choose to include subspecies, wow the number gets really impressive. I have successfully hatched or bred over 31 species, 30 being reptilian and 1 human with the birth of my son.

My first attempts at breeding snakes came four years ago. I have become proficient at lizards and wanted a new challenge. My personal collection had also grown and now it was time to try snakes.

Not wanting to waste time I started talking to some of the bigger breeders I know and reading several articles on the topic. I instantly began to plan how I would successfully breed boas. My first year I started the breeding process by stopping the feeding of the snakes so their guts would empty for the cool down. After a month of no food I cooled the snakes to 72 degrees. I kept them cooled for 2 months bringing them out of their winter sleep slowly. I feed the snakes well over a two-week period and then put them together. They stayed together for two days and then I separated them for one day. Put them together for two days and then apart for one. I repeated this two more times. Then I waited.

Many months later I was shocked to find that every single snake that I tried to breed was a bust, nothing but slugs (unfertilized eggs). I was heart broken. I reanalyzed what I had done and couldn’t come up with any answers. So I went back to the drawing board.

The next year I tried a different approach. Talking to a number of breeders in my area, I spoke to a friend who has had much success with boids. We talked about my past years failure and what may have gone wrong. He gave me a new method that I tried the following year.

Easy as 1, 2, 3. Now I keep my Boids together all year around, either in pairs or colonies. They are only separated to be fed. The following year I produced 50 Boa constrictors (Boa constrictor imperator), 13 Ball Pythons (Python regius), 11 Kenyan Sand Boas, including 3 Anyertheristic (Eryx loveridgi), 22 Brazilian Rainbow Boas (Epicrates cencria cencria), and 5 Colombian Rainbow Boas, (Epricrates cenchria molurus). Since then the success rate has grown.

The secret seems to be that the snakes naturally cool down by the fact that our homes cool down in the winter. They see that daylight gets shorter and they cycle seemingly automatically. Being together 365 per year, makes sure that when the female ovulates, the male is there to take advantage of it.

Successful boa breeding can be done by anyone. The most important factors are to make sure your snakes are well fed. Weekly feeding is the smartest way to go. Big, roomy environments also are conducive to successful breeding. And keep them sufficiently clean and healthy. Happy breeding.

 

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