Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata) Care Sheet
Rosy boas (Lichanura trivirgata) can be differentiated by the sub-species in which they are classified. There are 3 recognized sub-species of Rosy Boa and they are the Mexican Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata trivirgata), Desert Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata gracia), and the Coastal Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca).
These snakes can be somewhat shy but with handling can be very docile.
A 20 gallon enclosure will suit a Rosy for its entire life. These small boas will usually only reach a length of 2 to 3 feet, never more than 4 feet. It’s best to give them more floor space than height though they will occasionally make use of some branches put low to climb on. Having more than one place to hide will help it feel more secure, it is suggested to have at least one hide on the warm side and one hide on the cool side of the enclosure. For younger snakes, another hide can be added for additional security. Rosys do like a lot of cover so you can provide fake plants as well. Make sure the enclosure has a proper lid that allows for air flow but is secure enough so the snake cannot escape.
Let your snake settle in to its new environment for at least a week to reduce its stress levels. Minimize handling during this time, a stressed out or overly shy snake can tend to bite if it feels threatened or nervous.
Rosy Boas like to burrow, so it is best to use a substrate that can provide it to do so. Newspaper is simple and clean but don’t be surprised if your boa gets between the layers to burrow. Aspen also works well as does Carefresh. Provide at least a couple of inches to allow the boa to burrow down into the substrate.
Heating - Lighting
These boas like it very warm, at least 80 degrees on the warm side of the enclosure. Under the tank heating works well, additional heating such as a light will help keep temperatures up, especially in the winter if it gets too cold. Make sure the undertank heat pad and lighting are on the same side of the enclosure to maintain a proper heat gradient. Heat rocks are not recommended as a heat source due to malfunctions that can lead to burns to your snake.
Rosy boas do not like high humidity. Provide adequate ventilation in your enclosure. This is also a reason why a water bowl is not recommended for this species of boa, any spills can result in a higher humidity beyond its acceptability.
Younger snakes will take pinkies or fuzzies once a week. An adult Rosy will take adult mice every week to every other week. Do not let the small size of a Rosy’s head fool you into thinking it cannot eat something large; they are able to take meals the size of the widest portion of their bodies. Since Rosys are mostly active around dusk, food should be offered around then. If you are able, feed your snake in a separate container other than its enclosure to minimize the risk of the snake ingesting any substrate and causing possible impactions. Some will eat better with a blanket or towel tossed over the separate container to make it darker. Make sure the snake is unable to escape. After transferring your snake back into its enclosure, do not handle it for at least 2 days to allow it to properly digest and reduce the risk of regurgitation.
In some cases, older snakes tend to go off of food for the winter. This may last anywhere from August to February and can vary depending on the winter season in your area. Do not be alarmed unless your snake starts to lose a significant amount of weight.
Because of their dislike for high humidity, it is not recommended to have a water dish in the enclosure at all times. Water should be offered only a couple times a week. A simple way to do it would be to offer a water bowl after feeding and take it out a day or two later.
A young snake will shed more often than an adult. Once they get older, the shedding slows because they do not grow as fast.