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[Naturalist Notebook] Introducing Isis, the Rosy Boa

Without further ado…

I’m in love with the blue/gray and orange stripes she’s sporting. Maybe I can find a matching outfit and be *that* person.

The Rosy Boa and the Red Dog. He’s mystified and intrigued by the snakes, and maybe a tad jealous.

The Rosy’s new name is Isis (she told it to me) and she’s so incredibly mellow. She doesn’t seem to mind being handled at all, and while she’s an active snake, she doesn’t seem to be trying to escape. She’s got a nice 20 gallon tank full of aspen shreds since she, like the Rubbers, enjoys digging around. Rosies are desert snakes, found in only small portions of the southernmost part of California and the Southwest, and otherwise are found┬ámostly in Mexico. They’ve been actively bred for the pet trade since they have a wide range of beautiful colors (in combination with those three sweet racing stripes), don’t get much larger than 2-3 feet, and have a mellow temperament.

Do you see how her eyes look a little funny in the top pics? It turns out she has a problem shedding her eye scale when she sheds, but it dries out and dents so it ends up looking funny. I just take a Q-tip dabbed in warm water and gently press it to the scale until it loosens. Usually the scale comes right off onto the Q-tip.

The Rubber Boas seem to be doing just fine – the small female overcame a respiratory infection and literally grew overnight after digesting a pinkie.

Male on the left, female on the right. I should name the male Googly Eyes.

Still so tiny!


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The baby Rubbers have sweet digs: a 15 gallon tank complete with great digging substrate and some aquarium decorations. In this tank, the two of them will have more than enough room to grow.

Yes, that’s a fake alligator skull.

The family expands!

Thanks for reading. :)


[Naturalist Notebook] Rubber Boas Arrive

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The bouncing babies arrived yesterday afternoon, pretty chilled. They seem to have recuperated now and are quite active, especially when exposed to human skin (ie delicious mammal body heat).

Rubber boas are nocturnal, live-bearing members of the boa constrictor family. They don’t get much longer than about two feet and they’re pretty much the most non-aggressive snakes in the world. When threatened, they curl up, and tuck their heads beneath their bodies. They then expose their little blunt tails, which look exactly like their heads, to the threat. A bony plate in the tail protects their delicate insides from mouse bites, bird beak jabs, and other small traumas. (You can see a pic of one of these guys doing the display here) The second pic may give you an idea of why they’re called “rubber” boas; their extra skin curves into rolls where they twist!

Rubber Boas specialize in nest-raiding. They’re small and great at burrowing, so they easily get into rodent nests to pilfer babies. They’ve also adapted to survive long periods without tons of food because it’s not always easy to come across nests or itty bitty rodents. In captivity, they retain their instinct to raid nests and sometimes enjoy “finding” hidden pinkies. I found this rabbit toy and decided it looked like a nest to me, so next time I feed, I’m going to put the pinkies in here and see if the snakes go for it.

I’m really excited about these little critters, but I have to find a secure tank for them – rubber boas are master escape artists!

You can bet your bottoms you’ll be hearing more about these little guys in the future. In fact, they need names. I have a male and a female.

Any suggestions? :)

(See more here!)