Multiple Rubber Boas in One Cage

  • Cage

    I currently have one cage that is 4' X 2' that houses eight individuals (five females, three males). I do this for several reasons. There are probably about as many cons as pros, but all the cons are fairly easy to handle. Here are a few of each so you can make your own decision.


    - It takes up only a little more room than a rack system for the same number, but allows each of the snakes to roam long distances (for a captive anyway).

    - A greater number of hide spots with a wide heat gradient is easier to provide.

    - They are semi-social for a snake, and often like to ball up together. In fact, I believe Dorcas's research found that Rubber Boas hibernate in groups in the wild.

    - I only have to change substrate in one cage instead of multiple cages. :-)

    - When the time is right for breeding, they will take care of it, and I don't have to worry about timing.


    - Easy transmission of disease and mites. Mites can be easy to take care of given the right tools, but disease can spread quickly, and is more difficult to control. I will not introduce another individual to this communal cage until it has been quarantined for several months. This is also not the only cage, so if disease strikes one cage, it hopefully will not affect all the animals I have.

    - It is more difficult to keep track of who ate if food is placed in the cage and left overnight. But, the snakes should be regularly weighed anyway, so it can easily be determined who ate. This is less of a problem with 1.1. An alternative is to use a separate feeding container as demonstrated on the Feeding Page. This way, you can know exactly who ate what.

    - Multiple boas could simultaneously latch onto the same food item creating a strugle, or even end up in a larger snake eating a smaller. Yet another reason to use a seperate feeding container as demonstrated on the Feeding Page.

    - Males and Females normally emerge from hibernation at different times. The cage has to be large enough that the warm end offered in early spring is enough to bring up the male, but not so much that it brings up the female before she is ready.



    R. F. Hoyers Comments Regarding Feeding

    "In early 1970's, I had one subadult from a litter eat another littermate only slightly smaller as a result of the two latching onto the same prey item. It is always best to either monitor snakes as they feed to prevent this sort of thing or have the snakes in separate containers thus avoiding such problems. I just have never take that final step and have not had a problem since and have fed groups of boas at the same time for over 30 years now. I use to monitor the snakes and as soon as they latched onto a mouse, I would put them in a different part of the cage so another boa would not attempt to take the same mouse. I don't bother doing that any more.

    "I am sure that struggles have occurred but they have a means of overcoming the situation and preventing themselves from being eaten . I do not feed juvenile boas with larger subadults or adults. I am always taking a chance and I realize that but so far, only the one episode about 30 years ago. I read long ago about other individuals or zoos having had problems in this regard."


    My Conclusion

    Go ahead and keep Rubber Boas together in one cage if you so desire. Just be sure to feed them seperately.


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