Rosy Boa

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Is the Rosy Boa right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Desert Rosy Boa, Coastal Rosy Boa, Mexican Rosy Boa

Scientific name: Lichanura trivirgata

The basics:
The Rosy Boa differs greatly in lifestyle and appearance from the larger, more “typical” members of its family. Being quite docile, easily bred and modest in size, this fascinating snake is very popular among both novice and experienced reptile enthusiasts. The Rosy Boa’s range extends from southern California and southwestern Arizona, USA to western Baja California and western Sonora, Mexico. Five subspecies have been described. Rosy Boas are found in arid thorn scrub, deserts, and other open, dry habitats.

Appearance / health:
The stoutly-built Rosy Boa ranges from 24 to 40 inches in length. The small dorsal scales appear “polished”, and exhibit a wide range of colors and hues, with blue-gray being perhaps the most common. Many individuals are marked with three stripes of pinkish-orange to reddish-brown, but here too there is much variation. Breeders have established a huge array of color morphs.

This is a hardy species, with captive longevity sometimes exceeding 20 years. As with other snakes hailing from arid habitats, Rosy Boas are susceptible to “blister disease” and other skin infections when kept on damp substrates. The water bowl should be tip-proof and filled to a point where it will not overflow when the snake soaks. Pets kept on sand should be removed at feeding time to prevent digestive tract impactions arising from ingested substrate.

Behavior / temperament:
Rosy Boas are often relatively calm in disposition, and usually tolerate gentle handling.

A single adult may be housed in a 20-30 gallon aquarium. Rosy Boas prefer course sand in which to burrow, but also do fine on aspen and similar substrates. Secretive by nature, they should be provided with caves, half-buried PVC pipes and other shelters. The tank’s screen lid should be secured by cage clips. Ambient temperature: 78-85 F. Basking temperature: 90-95 F.

The jaws of the Rosy Boa are not well-suited to swallowing large meals. Fuzzies and young mice are preferable to adult mice as a food source.

A cooling-off period of 6-8 weeks at 52-54 F will often stimulate reproduction. In some cases, however, normal fluctuations in room temperature will be enough to spur breeding during the warmer months. The 3-6 young are born alive after a gestation period of 4-6 months, and average 10-14 inches in length.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


unique personality, docile snake, excellent pets, good beginner snake, great temperament


finicky eaters


cute qualities, low humidity need, subtle bluish tinges, slightly different colorations

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