Can Rosy Boas Eat Crickets?

I’ve been learning about different snakes and was wondering about the rosy boa’s diet. So I did some research to find out if they eat crickets. 

So, can rosy boas eat crickets? Rosy boas can eat crickets without any adverse health effects. Baby rosy boas may be sufficiently fed with crickets, but adult rosy boas need more food than crickets can provide. Rosy boas can also eat other insects, small mice, and meal worms.

A cricket is surprisingly high in calories. Crickets provide 121 nutritional calories, and a mouse only provides 30 calories. This may seem surprising given the size disparity of the two types of food, but it is true.

However, calories are not always the most accurate way of measuring the amount of food necessary for a snake. A mouse takes far longer for a snake to digest and thus makes the snake feel full longer than if it only eats crickets.

Generally, a rosy boa should be fed prey that is the same circumference as the snake at its widest point. So, if you put a string around your rosy boa at its widest point, you should feed it prey that is the same size around. Thus, a cricket would work for a baby rosy boa, but a fuzzy mouse is usually a more suitable choice. As the snake grows, a cricket would be much too small.

After looking into rosy boas, I’ve recognized that there are a lot more important things to know about them then just their diet such as habitat and habits. 

When Properly Fed, How Big Will a Rosy Boa Get?

Rosy boas range from 10 inches as hatchlings to almost 4 feet in length when mature. The record length is around 48 inches, although such behemoths are rarely seen, even in captivity. Most rosy boas range from 24 to 36 inches and are perfectly suited for keeping in a 10- or 15-gallon terrarium.

Carefully monitor what you feed your rosy boa as the snake grows. Make sure you are feeding the snake large enough of food for its size as it grows.

Rosy boa (lichanura trivirgata) on white background.

How Much Does it Cost to Properly Feed Rosy Boas Mice or Crickets?

Rosy boas range in price from as low as $75 to as much as $200 and averaging about $99.99. However, you’ll have many more expenses such as the cage, food, heat lamps etc.

Purchasing the food for a rosy boa is not expensive. Rosy boas usually eat about 4 times per month, and a pre-killed mouse can cost only $1. Crickets can also be used to supplement a rosy boa’s diet. Crickets can be purchased at 100 for $9.99 at local pet shops or some gardening shops.

Where Do Rosy Boas Go to Eat?

Naturally home to the desert regions of California, Arizona, and Mexico, rosy boas prefer a dry climate with lots of places to curl up to hide. Two to four inches of a substrate like a cypress mulch or aspen bedding will work well. If you prefer to line the bottom of the enclosure with newspaper for ease of cleaning, you should add some half logs or slabs arranged for the rosy to get under. Hides are also a good idea.

These are small upside down bowls with an entry hole cut into the side. Each should be small enough for the snake to feel secure curled up inside of it. Two water sources should also be provided. The drinking water source needs to be relatively small because snakes enjoy soaking in water which is the purpose of the other water source. Sticks alongside the enclosure are another good idea as rosy boas will sometimes climb low bushes. 

Symptoms to Watch for if a Rosy Boa is Not Well-Fed

  • unusually frequent or infrequent shedding
  • vomiting
  • lethargic or reluctant to eat
  • abnormal feces
  • bumps or spots on skin
  • labored breathing
  • difficulty shedding
  • white, cheesy substance in mouth

Health Issue:

  1. Dermatitis
  2. Respiratory disease
  3. Stomatitis
  4. Ticks and mites.

Symptoms or Causes: 

1.Blisters, rapid shedding caused by an unclean habitat or one that is too cold or damp.

2.Labored breathing, mucus in mouth or nostrils. Can be caused by a habitat that is too cold or damp.

3.White, cheesy substance in the mouth, loss of teeth and appetite. If untreated, can be fatal. 

4.Parasites on skin, can transmit disease.

Suggested Action:

1. Consult your veterinarian, clean the habitat and lower humidity.

2. Consult your veterinarian and keep snake warm and dry.

3. Immediately consult your veterinarian.

4. Consult your veterinarian.

How can I breed a rosy boa?

Before breeding, a short winter cooling period, otherwise known as brumation, is necessary. During this time in the wild, the snakes will retreat to a dry, dark place, cease feeding and enter a generally dormant state. This is a winter survival tactic, but after warming up in the spring, the boas are then ready to reproduce. This is something we must aim to mimic in the captive environment.

Females reach sexual maturity at about 3 years old, or at least after their second winter. They should be closer to their full adult size at this point, which is around 2 feet long. Males may be ready much earlier, and they can breed from very young ages with no ill effects. Up until sexual maturity, it is not absolutely necessary for rosy boas to enter a period of brumation, but they certainly would do in the wild, so many keepers choose to as well. Indeed, many young snakes may actually require a brief winter cooling period before they begin to feed.

Only healthy individuals should be considered for brumation, as they will use all of their fat reserves over the winter. After carefully selecting and checking the boas before their big cool, which will take place around the beginning of November, stop feeding them. Leave them for two weeks so that they can fully digest and pass out of their system any remnants of their last meal.

It is common practice to move the snakes to temporary accommodation over the winter. If you usually keep more than one snake in a tank, I suggest brumating them separately. Either way, their enclosure should have clean substrate, a hide box (preferably one in the warm end and one in the cool end), and be kept fairly dark and dry for the duration of the period. Despite being in a dormant state, the snakes may move around a little, drink from time to time, and some individuals may even shed their skin. Offer water from a small container a few times a week. Don’t leave water in the enclosure, however, as an accidental spillage combined with the low temperature, could lead to respiratory problems for brumating snakes.

It is now time to begin gradually dropping the temperature to around 55 to 65 degrees, perhaps over a period of about a week. Some keepers insist that only a slight drop in temperature from what the snakes are used to is necessary, but I’ve always had success in cooling them down to 55 degrees. If you can also gradually reduce the light at the same time, then do so. The enclosure need not be pitch-black, but it should be dark. That means no bright lights in the enclosure, which should be situated in a quiet, relatively dark room. As much as six to eight hours of sunlight through a window is no problem as long as it doesn’t shine directly into the enclosure.

When the temperature is down, there is little else to do. Aside from offering a small amount of water every day or two (in a bowl too small to soak in), leave the snakes alone over the winter. Brumation length varies from keeper to keeper, but most would agree that anywhere between seven and 12 weeks is sufficient. I like to have the snakes begin brumation by about mid-November, so at the beginning of February, after 10 weeks of cooling, it’s time to gradually increase the enclosure’s temperature.

After about five days of the temperature being back to normal, offer the snakes their first meal of the year. Make sure the food item is smaller than what they are used to, as after such a long period of fasting, you don’t want to risk regurgitation. After the first meal, the snakes should have a voracious appetite. Females, in particular, should be fed larger items every five days, but be careful not to overfeed. We want to ensure that they are in peak condition for the upcoming breeding season. Males often shed their skin about a month after resuming feeding, females a little later. But in both cases, this shed generally means that the snakes are ready to reproduce.

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