Brazilian Rainbow Boa

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Is the Brazilian Rainbow Boa right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Rainbow Boa Constrictor

Scientific name: Epicrates cenchria chenchria

The basics:
The Brazilian Rainbow Boa differs in lifestyle and appearance from the larger Red-tailed Boa, and indeed has been found to be more closely related to the anaconda “side” of the family. The range of the most commonly-kept subspecies (the taxonomy is in flux) extends from southern Venezuela, Guyana and Surinam through the Brazilian Amazon Basin.

It occupies a wide variety of habitats, including wet and dry forests, wooded savannas, thorn scrub and the outskirts of farms and villages. Time is spent in trees and shrubs as well as on the ground.

Appearance / health:
The Brazilian Rainbow Boa is less stoutly-built than the Red-tailed Boa, and averages 5 feet in length, with some individuals approaching seven feet. Spectacular in appearance, the dorsal scales glint with iridescence in sunlight due to the effect of tiny ridges thereon. Coloration varies widely, but most are clad in various shades of red to orange-tinted mahogany, and patterned with dark lateral rings and spots.

With proper care, captive longevity sometimes exceeds 25 years. Dry sheds are common in terrariums where the average humidity is consistently below 50%, but skin infections will take hold in overly-damp environment. Air circulation that allows the tank to dry out after heavy misting is essential.

Behavior / temperament:
Brazilian Rainbow Boas vary in temperament, with some tolerating gentle handling while others remaining resistant. Young animals may be especially defensive. As is true for all snakes, they must be handled with care; adults are not suitable pets for children.

A single adult may be housed in a custom-made enclosure with a l x w x h of at least 4 x 4 x 5 feet, but preferably larger. They are more active than typical Boa Constrictors, and require terrariums or custom-built cages that are at least as long as their body length, and which allow space for climbing as well. The enclosure should be provided with stout branches similar to the width of the snake’s body. Hanging live or artificial plants positioned over branches or standard hide boxes serve well as retreats. Cypress mulch, eucalyptus bark and similar materials may be used as substrates. Fresh water in a pan large enough for soaking should be available. Ambient temperature: 77-85 F; basking temperature: 90 F.

Wild Rainbow Boas are opportunists, taking opossums, bats, rodents, birds, tegus and other lizards, domestic chickens and ducks and a variety of other species. Pets will accept rats and mice, but may switch preferences between them for long periods of time.

A cooling-off period of 3-4 weeks at a night-time temperature of 68 F and with a daytime basking site of 85 F will often stimulate reproduction. The 2 -35 young, born alive after a gestation period of 2 – 3 months, average 15-20 inches in length.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


metallic scales, display pet, stunning amazing snakes, interesting gentle creature, gorgeous snake


beginners, snake pathogenic salmonella, wild caught ones


overlooked species, advanced beginner, famous diamondback pythons, humidity levels, bad reputation

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