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Dumeril's Boa

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Species group:

Other common names: Dumerils Ground Boa

Scientific name: Acrantophis dumerili

The basics:
The Dumeril’s Boa is in the unique position of being common in captivity but rare in the wild. It is found only in southern Madagascar and on nearby Mascarene Island. Although long-protected, the Dumeril’s Boa is threatened by deforestation and other forms of habitat loss.

Dumeril’s Boas occupy arid thorn scrub, sparsely-wooded dry forests and the outskirts of farms and villages. Time is mainly on the ground, but trees and bushes may be used on occasion.

Appearance / health:
The Dumeril’s Boa is a heavy-bodied snake that averages 5-6 feet in length, with some individuals approaching 8 feet. The pattern of coloration is complex, with most exhibiting dark blotches over several shades of tan and brown, sometimes overlain with a pink or orange tinge.

With proper care, captive longevity for this hardy species may approach 30 years. Dry sheds are common in terrariums where the average humidity is consistently below 30%, but skin infections will take hold in overly-damp environments. Air circulation that allows the tank to dry out after heavy misting is essential.

Behavior / temperament:
Dumeril’s Boas are generally calm in temperament, with most tolerating gentle handling. 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.

Housing:
Dumeril’s Boas are relatively inactive and do well in modestly-sized enclosures. Youngsters may be accommodated in terrariums of a length equal to their own, but adults require custom-built cages measuring at least 5 x 4 feet. Newspapers, cypress mulch, eucalyptus bark and similar materials may be used as substrates. A dry cave or hollow log serves well as a shelter. Ambient temperature: 78-82 F; basking temperature: 88 F.

Diet:
Wild Dumeril’s Boas are opportunists, taking bats, rodents, birds, lizards, domestic fowl and a variety of other species. Pets readily accept rats and mice.

Breeding:
A cooling-off period of 1-2 months at a temperature of 72 F, basking site of 82 F, and an 8 hour day length will often stimulate reproduction. Four to fifteen youngsters, which average 15-20 inches in length, are born alive after a relatively long gestation period of 5 – 7 months.

Written by Frank Indiviglio

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