Our terrariums range in size depending on the age and size of the emerald tree boa. The neonates stay in the Mini/Tall Terrariums measuring 12” x 12” x 18” (WxDxH). The juveniles are moved to Small/Tall Terrariums measuring 18” x 18” x 24” (WxDxH). As the juveniles mature and grow in size then are moved to the larger Medium/Tall Terrarium measuring 24” x 18” x 24” (WxDxH). The adult emerald tree boas live in the Large/Tall Terrariums measuring 36” x 18” x 24” (WxDxH). We keep the terrariums together based on size, stacked on three leveled racks. The Exo Terra Glass Terrarium is ideal for reptiles specifically for arboreal boas who live off the ground.  These cages are naturally tall giving our amazon basins the ability to climb. The terrariums front opening doors allow for easy access for maintenance and feeding. The top of the terrariums is full screen for ventilation and UV penetration. For emerald tree boas, this can also create problems for humidity reasons. To solve that issue, we cut plywood to properly fit the top screen sections, leaving one section open for ventilation and the white light/red light fixture.

Each terrarium is setup with a Day/Night Tropical Lighting Kit made by Zoo Med. The Lighting Kit has a white 25-watt Repti-Basking Spot Lamp, and a red 50-watt Nocturnal Infrared Heat Lamp. During the day, the white light is set to run most of the day from 7am to 6pm, although will turn off if the temperature exceeds 85 degrees fahrenheit. The snake room is well lit with plenty of natural sunlight. During the evening, from 6pm to 7am if the temperature drops below 73 degrees fahrenheit, the red heat lights will turn on and bring the temperature back up. The lighting systems are controlled to run these day/night cycles by the ReptiCare® Terrarium Controller made by Zoo Med.

We live in Southern California where the average temperature is 77.1 degrees, and we keep the snake room temperature at 81 degrees. So unlike other areas of the world, where snake owners have trouble with temperatures, we don’t have that problem. Without much temperature manipulation, we can maintain a daytime ambient of 83-85 degrees and a nighttime of 75-78 degrees. For temperature control, we use Vivarium Electronics VE-300X2 Thermostats. Each rack of same sized cages has one thermostat to maintain the temperature control over all terrariums.

Emerald tree boas require a specific temperature and humidity range to maintain good health. If the temperature if too high or low, that could cause digestion problems. If the humidity is too high, that could cause respiratory issues. To achieve the proper humidity of 70-80%, we mist the cages once per day at 4-5pm using a 3 gallon compression pump sprayer. The entire cage must be sprayed, including the flooring substrate and plants.

We use 23” x 36” Prevail disposable under pads distributed by CWI Medical. The under pads can be folded up to fit the terrarium footprint. We change out the under pads every two weeks, sometimes more often. If the under pads are too wet and are not often replaced, the humidity can be too high, along with mold which could cause respiratory and other health issues.

For humidity reasons and to create a better environment for the snakes, we use fake plants that stick to the side walls of each terrarium, and live pothos plants at the bottom of each terrarium.

These snakes are arboreal boas therefore stay off the ground for most of their lives. Each terrarium is setup with a very natural looking perch system, created by Ron Rundo. Ron customizes every perch by hand, specific to the size of the terrarium and needs of the owner. The perches are made of epoxy resin, painted with acrylic paint then coated with semi-gloss polyurethane for durability.

We regulate the feeding for each snake based on several aspects such as: their size and age, when was their last bowel movement, are they’re going into shed.  We always feed our animals at night.

  1. Size and age:
    1. Neonates feed every 10-14 days
      1. Frozen/thawed pink/fuzzy rats
    2. Juveniles feed every 12-20 days
      1. Frozen/thawed fuzzy/hopper rats
    3. Adults feed every 14-28 days
      1. Frozen/thawed small rats
  2. Bowel movements:
    1. It is extremely important to keep good records of your animal’s food intake, shed cycle, and bowel movement.
    2. You don’t ever want to feed your snake too many meals between bowel movements. A good rule of thumb is 3 meals maximum until your snake goes to the bathroom.
    3. If your snake is having troubles passing a bowel movement and has had three meals, you can put your snake into the shower. Make sure the shower is on warm, a temperature you would enjoy. Build a perch system you can put into the shower (example use PVC pipes). In the wild emerald tree boas go to the bathroom when it rains. It’s a defense mechanism as the rain washes their bowel movement away, and thus not attracting predators. It’s been my experience, the snake will go to the bathroom within 5-10 minutes of being in the shower.
  3. Going into shed:
    1. Amazon Basins go into shed every 3-6 months depending on their size and age.
    2. About 3-4 weeks before the snake sheds, you will notice a difference in their behavior. Emerald Tree Boas are nocturnal animals so they sleep all day on their perch, then are active at night. When they’re going into shed, the remain inactive during the day and night.
    3. You will notice the snake fades from its natural lime green color to a dull gray tint.
    4. During this time, the animal does not eat so don’t try to feed him.
    5. As soon as the snake sheds, they will usually also have a bowel movement, and will be ready to feed.
  4. Record Keeping:
    1. This is extremely important! If you have read everything above, then you know it’s a lot to remember. You do not want to forget the last time you fed your snake or when was their last bowel movement.
    2. Record every meal, every bowel movement, every shed, when you change their water, clean their cage, everything!
    3. I keep a spreadsheet of every snake and track all the above.
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