When you buy an animal, it is familiar only with the environment in which it has been raised. Sudden shifts in surroundings and diet can be very stressful for the animal, contributing to feeding, health, and behavior problems. This short guide is intended to illustrate how your new animal has been cared for prior to you coming to care for it. I’ll also give some limited suggestions for long term care, but since our collective knowledge of best care practices are constantly improving, and because what works well for one keeper may be less than ideal for another, seeking out reliable care information is your ongoing responsibility.
I keep neonate rosy boas alone in 6 quart shoeboxes (6” x 12” x 4” high) in a solid sided rack system. The back 1/3 of the enclosure is thermostatically controlled to 92 degrees F at the substrate. The cool side remains about 75 degrees. I use aspen chips for substrate.
On the hot spot is a small Reptile Basics hide (3” x 5”). On the cool side is a small cork bark flat for hiding and for rubbing against when shedding.
Every seven to fourteen days in the evening the rosy boa is offered a thawed pink mouse on a deli cup lid, in front of the opening to the warm hide. The boa eats the pink overnight. Some rosies demand that prey be offered on tongs. For these, I gently present the prey item to the snake; some grab the prey immediately, while others may want to size it up for a bit before taking it. If the snake is in a shed cycle, I refrain from offering food. I always keep a small water bowl in the enclosure. If the water bowl increases the humidity in the enclosure, more ventilation is added.
When the snake is between a year and two years old, I will move it into a 28 quart tub (16” x 24” x 5” high), an enclosure that can house the snake permanently. Again, the rear 1/3 of the enclosure is heated to 92 degrees at the substrate. This size tub is roughly equivalent to a 20 gallon long glass tank, or an 18” x 18” x 12” Exo Terra.
Important to keeping rosy boas healthy is keeping the humidity low. Normal home humidity is typically fine, so long as the enclosure is well-ventilated and the water bowl is very small. So-called 'bioactive' enclosures are not suited to satisfy the basic needs of rosy boas, and I do not recommend housing rosy boas with any plants or substrate microfauna.
Note that the simple housing scheme I've outlined here provides cozy, warm, secure, and relatively dark surroundings. I’ve found that rosy boas thrive under these conditions. Rosy boas that are housed in enclosures that are too large, too cool, too humid, or that don’t offer secure hiding opportunities may be eat poorly or not at all.