How often do Rubber Boas shed?
Like most things - it depends. It dependes largely on environment temperature, and amount of food intake. Review of long-term captivity data sheets, I have noted sometimes a snake will shed twice within the same month, sometimes there are several months inbetween sheds.
Can I feed a Rubber Boa inbetween the time it goes "blue" and its shed?
I have not specifically focused on recording this type of data, but I know I have seen several different individuals eat while 'in the shed'. In fact, the pictures of the male below on the green piece of cloth, was put into a feeding container in the early evening with two baby mice. By morning, they were gone, and the skin had just begun to peel away from his face. Apparently he ate, then rubbed on the sides to begin the peeling. Other times, I have noted individuals begin to opaque within hours of last eating.
How long does it take to shed?
The time between the onset of milky blue eyes and shed is often from about 4 days to a week and a half. Again, this depends on the temperature, but may also be influenced by the amount of moisture the snake is exposed to. The more the better.
Should I do anything special to help my Rubber Boa shed?
Yes! 1) Provide moist hide boxes for it, 2) give it an extra soaking in cool tepid water bath, and 3) ensure that there are objects in the cage for it to rub against and pull the skin off. It can't just climb out of its skin, so it need something to rub against to get it started, and then catch it on objects to pull it off. Normal hide boxes, pieces of bark, or a small rock are useful. Nothing too special, just something more than a 10 gal aquarium with only paper on the bottom (which it should have anyway).
Do I need to help it with its shed?
Rarely if you provided adequate moisture. If for some reason it has an incomplete shed, soak it for 20 minutes, and gently help it remove the skin.
|As mentioned above, I opened a feeding tub I had put this guy in along with two mice, and as I expected, the mice were gone, but to my suprise, he was also just beginning to shed. The skin had peeled away from his face and was starting on his neck. I observed him for a while, helped a little bit by holding the skin still, but then realized - hey, may be I should get some pictures for this site. So, a little late, but at least I got him in the process.|
|Here you can see the lighter color of his new skin. This is a common level of color change for a shedding Rubber Boa. Some though, are very dark chocolate color, and lighten all the way to something similar to this fella (such a color change is more common coming out of hibernation). Still other just do not change color tone much at all from a shed.|
|The completed shed. A Rubber Boas shed skin is tough but supple - more so than other snakes I have kept. They have a very neet silky slippery feel as you rub it bewteen your fingers. Generally the shed comes off in one entire piece. Realize though, you cannot get an accurate measurement of the snake from a shed skin - as the it is stretched out quite a bit.|
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