Best for Experienced Owners
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The viper boa is native to Papua New Guinea, Irian Jaya, and the numerous islands that surround Indonesia. The Viper boa is the smallest pet species of Asian boa. The viper boa gets its name from its appearance and temperament; viper boas look like the highly venomous death adder, and many share the death adder's aggressive temperament. Viper boas are generally not commonly available in pet stores, and pet stores that get some in usually sell out quickly; prospective owners may have to special order one.
The majority of Viper boas are aggressive and quick to bite; however, there is the occasional exception and a few Viper boas are laid back and calm. When well socialized and raised with love and care, Viper boas are usually comfortable with their owner. However, they are generally not sociable snakes and do not like being picked up a lot or constantly pestered. If irritated, even the most placid of Viper boas will bite. Viper boas do not usually get along well with people outside their immediately family and may either ignore them or be aggressive towards them. They are nocturnal snakes, so are more active at night than during the day. As Viper boas tend to be aggressive and are notorious fussy eaters, they are only suitable for experienced snake owners, and are not suitable pets for children.
A full-grown viper boa requires an aquarium or enclosure that is a minimum of least 30 square feet large, with the emphasis on length and width, not height. Viper boas live in tropical areas that are hot and very humid; their enclosure should be set up to mimic their natural habitat as much as possible. The floor of the snake’s home should be lined with either 3-4 inches of peat moss soil or large bark chips; small wood shavings should not be used as they can be accidentally swallowed and cause a blockage in the reptile’s stomach and intestines. The aquarium should include several large flat stones for the snake to climb and bask on, a reptile hide for it to hide and sleep in, and a large water dish for the snake to drink from and bathe in. Owners can also add non-toxic plants like ferns to the aquarium too. Viper boas require temperatures of around 85-90 Fahrenheit in the day, and around 80-85 Fahrenheit at nighttime. The lights in the aquarium should mimic both daytime and nighttime, so owners need to have their lights on and off for 12 hours each. Viper boas require a humidity level of 70-80%; the aquarium should be misted twice to three times daily.
Appearance and Care:
Viper boas are small snakes that measure 2-3 feet long when full-grown. Female viper boas are larger and thicker than male viper boas are. Viper boas are not venomous, but they look very similar to the deadly Death adder. Viper boas are either muddy brown, golden brown, bright vibrant orange, or red with a large dark brown or black diamond like patterns going down the spine. Unlike most snakes that basically stay the same colour their entire lives, Viper boas will sometimes change colours during a shed; scientists believe they change colours to have better camouflage during the seasons
All snakes carry salmonella, so owners need to wash their hands after they handle their snake. It is also recommended that owners wash their hands thoroughly after feeding the snake so their hands do not smell like dinner to the snake.
Like all snakes, Viper boas are carnivores that only eat live food. Viper boas are fussy when it comes to food, so owners may need to try a variety of food to find ones their snake likes. Viper boas may eat small rodents like mice, rats, guinea pigs and gerbils, small birds, small lizards, and small rabbits. Like all pets, viper boas require fresh water daily.
Viper boas live an average of 15-20 years, but some healthy individuals have been known to live for 25 years. Many veterinarians do not have the training to treat snakes, so owner will need to find a specialty veterinarian to treat their snake if needed. Specialty veterinarians tend to be more expensive than regular veterinarians are.