Rosy Boa Snakes: Proper Feeding and Care Schedule

Rosy boas are a popular snake to have as a pet. They are sometimes hard to care for, due to their master-escape-artist tendencies, but have a small manageable size and cool designs. Because they are such a cool pet to have, I looked up all you’ll need to know to take care of your rosy boa snake and have laid it all out for you below.

What are some feeding and care tips for pet rosy boa snakes? Feed your rosy boa small adult mice two to four times a month. Change the bedding bi-weekly for the best health of your snake. Keep the temperature at 78 to 80 degrees on the ambient side and 90 to 92 on the basking side of your tank, and a humidity kept under 50%.

That is just a small spark note of what you will need to know for taking care of this beautiful snake, and I have laid out all the details on everything including necessary accessories for your rosy boa’s tank, so please read on and learn more!

Tank Sizing and Specifications

Rosy boas are a short length of only two to four feet when fully grown. This being the case, rosy boas don’t need a very big tank to fit comfortably. As a baby, these snakes can fit in deli cups even! These snakes don’t take up a lot of room because of their small size.

An adult rosy boa only needs a tank that is about ten to twenty gallons.

This cage will have to be virtually inescapable because rosy boa snakes are master escape-artists. You will also need to make sure that no surfaces are made of anything that would hurt your snake if they rub their noses against it (like mesh). Rosy boas are infamous for doing this in an attempt to escape.

You will need a tank with a glass door that locks in order for the best ease of maintenance and safety for your scaly, rosy boa friend. If your snake finds even the smallest gap in your tank set up, it will try to escape and most likely succeed, which is why the glass door tank is most recommended. Materials like mesh should be avoided.

Substrate

Rosy boas can have a multitude of types of substrate lining the bottoms of their tanks. The many types of substrates that can be used for this breed of a snake are reptile sand, Sani-Chips, reptile bark, pulp paper products, CareFresh, newspaper, wood shavings, and even paper towels.

Your snake’s tank should be ten to twenty gallons with Zoo Med aspen substrate or shredded newspaper, but never cedar or pine. 

You cannot EVER use cedar or pine as a substrate in your tank or even a blend with traces of cedar or pine in them. Snakes are allergic to cedar and pine wood and this will make your snake very sick, if not kill it. Your snake reacts in such a way is because the oils in these types of wood are very toxic to reptiles. The degree of the reaction your snake will exhibit will depend on how much it is exposed to. But, even trace amounts of this stuff can be harmful for your pet snake and should be avoided at all costs for the health and safety of your snake. 

You will need to lay down about one to two inches of substrate in the bottom of your snake’s enclosure. It is also recommended to lay down a layer of shredded newspaper on top of your base substrate. This is because rosy boas like to burrow in the ground a bit to stay hidden. By adding this extra layer you give them the necessary circumstances to be comfortable and nide in his habitat.

Note: You will need to change and replace this substrate layer and clean the tank roughly every two weeks.

When you clean the tank, you will need to take out the old substrate, clean all the walls, floor, roof, and all other surfaces or accessories inside of the enclosure, then replace the substrate and other things after the tank is well rinsed of the cleaner and dried out.

As for cleaner to use for the inside of your tank, you can use a mixture of a gallon of water, a few tablespoons of bleach, and a few tablespoons of soap.

This mixed together makes a great cleaner. If you don’t want to make your own, you can also buy some from your local pet store or even online.

After scrubbing the tank with this cleaner you will need to make sure the entire thing is well rinsed out and there is no cleaner left behind. Any cleaner left behind is a hazard for the snake which is why it has to be well rinsed out before you replace the substrate and accessories.

After your tank is cleaned and ALL TRACES OF CLEANER ARE WASHED OUT, then you are safe to replace the substrate, water dish, hiding house, accessories, and other necessary gadgets. Return the tank to the necessary temperature and humidity specifications and then you can put your snake back in its comfy, happy home.

Temperature and Humidity Levels

Rosy boas originate from the southwestern states of the United States and the northern part of Mexico. The climate in those areas is very warm. When you keep a snake in captivity, you basically just recreate their natural habitat inside of their enclosure for their wellbeing, health, and vitality.

The temperature for a rosy boa’s tank needs to be within these specifications: The basking side of the tank needs to be within ninety and ninety-two degrees Fahrenheit (90*F – 92*F). The ambient side of the tank needs to be within seventy-eight and eighty degrees Fahrenheit (78*F – 80*F).

A snake’s tank will not only need the proper heat specifications, but it will also need the proper humidity level to match the snake’s natural habitat. The rosy boa’s natural habitat has a humidity of about 60%. It is recommended for safety to go no more than 50% for the humidity level of a rosy boa’s tank humidity, however.

Ways to help raise humidity levels in your tank is to get a larger water dish, cover the top of the tank with a solid sheet of glass or plastic to trap some of it in, or maybe even changing the substrate to something that holds more moisture. You do not want to risk your snake getting too dry because that can really affect their health negatively and even harm their shedding process.

If your tank gets too humid or too dry, it will be very unhealthy for your snake. So, to prevent this from happening, make sure you have a decent sized water dish for your snake, not too large though, which should help with the proper humidity levels.

Lighting and Heating Methods

Lighting features are not required for the health of your rosy boa snake. This is because this snake is nocturnal and goes out to hunt at night. During the day, this snake hides in burrows and other hiding places that keep it hidden from the sunlight.

Even though this snake does not require an intense light source, however, it still needs enough light to create a healthy day/night cycle.

You might be wondering, “without a light source, how will the snake receive its necessary heat for survival?” but I have just the answer for you. Heating pads and/or heating strips! These are sources of heat that are placed below your tank to heat them from the base up. 

A terrarium heating pad is a lot like the type of heating pad you would plug in and drape across your aching muscles or similar uses. Except this heating pad is placed directly under your terrarium and has a dual-heat setting which helps to make the ambient and basking heated side of the tank. Without the dual setting, the snake would constantly too hot or too cold.

If you’re looking for an excellent heating pad for your snake, click this link to find one.

Heating strips for your snake’s enclosure are very similar to the heating pad technique. Heating strips get placed on the bottom side of your tank and set the two sides for the different temperature settings according to the basking and ambient temperature specifications.

Make sure you have a temperature gauge for this method especially because without it you run the risk of the strips getting too hot and burning your snake or even creating a fire hazard. To find a very highly rated heating strip, you can click this link.

Accessories

Because rosy boas are nocturnal. They hide very frequently and love to burrow during the day. You will need to have a couple of hiding holes or boxes, also known as hiding houses, for your snake’s cooler half of the habitat. You will also need one for the basking side of the tank. 

Some recommended hiding holes or boxes are curved slabs of cork bark, half logs, and driftwood. This species of snake simply needs a dark place it can hide during the day so that it isn’t out in the light all of the time. Various plants help as well but are not required for this snake’s survivability.

To find some awesome hiding house options from Amazon, you can click here. You might want to pay attention to measurements, as you can’t really expect a massive pet snake to fit inside a fake little mushroom top meant for baby corn snakes. That being said, there are some very adorable options on that list.

Feeding

You will need to feed your rosy boa friend roughly two to four times a month, so about every week and a half or two. These snakes don’t need much food due to their small size and needing time to digest their food completely. Snakes, in general, are fed less than other pets.

When feeding your rosy boa, you will need to get a small adult mouse. You will need to drop this mouse in the cage and then close the cage back up for it to hunt and feed upon on its own.

Of course, it needs to be a pre-killed mouse that you buy frozen and needs to be thawed before setting it in your snake’s enclosure. This is because often, with live prey, pet snakes might get in a fight with the animal and wind up with scratches and infections. It also increases their aggressive nature.

If you want to feed live prey to your snake to “keep it active”, that is up to you. Just make sure you get to supervise the hunting for the safety of your pet snake. It is not recommended to use this method of feeding because of the dangers that it can bring including your snake getting seriously hurt. If your snake gets hurt and doesn’t heal properly it can also continue to harm inflict the health of your snake.

When to Hold and When Not to Hold

Something that is very important to know about the snake you own is when it is safe or not safe to handle it and how. When you are feeding the snake, as I mentioned, simply drop your snake’s mouse meal in the tank and let the snake do the work.

When trying to grab the snake, it is recommended to nudge your rosy boa with a stick to let it know that it is getting taken out of its cage and not fed. This helps prevent the snake from thinking it’s getting fed and striking.

You should make sure to not hold your snake right after it gets fed. This is because the snake’s aggressive instincts are still in tune and it is likely that it will think your hand or arm is more food being dropped in its tank resulting in it striking.

Note: You should wait roughly forty-eight hours (two days) before you hold your snake again after feeding it.

After that two day waiting period, you may hold your snake safely. When holding your snake, make sure you do not restrict its movement. Doing so may cause the snake to get frightened and react to being restricted because it feels attacked. Always make sure you handle your snake gently, calmly, and cautiously.

As long as you are safe and follow the general rules and leave your snake alone during its specific waiting period necessary for its digestion, you and your snake should get along great. keeping the tank at the proper settings for temperature, humidity, set up, and keep a proper feeding schedule, you and your snake should be great pals.

Related Questions:

Are rosy boas dangerous? Rosy boas are not a very dangerous snake. They are non-venomous and usually non-aggressive unless they feel unhealthy or unsafe. They make great pets and are quite fun to have around.

Do rosy boas make good pets?Rosy boas make great pets as long as you have the right set up so they can’t escape their tanks. They are master escape-artists and very curious creatures. Aside from that difficult trait, they generally make wonderful, calm-mannered pets.

Are rosy boas good snakes for beginners? Rosy boas are not recommended for people getting a snake for the first time. Due to their curiosity, they are hard to keep contained if you are inexperienced. It is better to get something like a milk snake as your first pet snake.

Danielle Newsom

Hey guys! I am an English major studying in Southeastern Idaho and loving every second of it. I love blogging and strive to help others with my colleagues to have ease of access in one place to anything they may want to know about snakes. I have some experience with snakes and have done crazy amounts of research in the areas I lack to help you guys get the best quality answers possible.

Recent Content