Feeding Rubber Boas

If you keep Rubber Boas, you will notice that they are not as aggressive of eaters as most other species. This does not mean that they won't pig out, but rather they are more careful and calm when taking prey. As noted in the Natural History page, Rubber Boas are largely nest robbers, only occasionally taking adult mice. Often while eating, they do not strike their prey (no need to attack a helpless mouse). They may not even constrict prior to swallowing a pinky. So, don't expect that you can toss a small mouse in with a Rubber Boa and watch it "attack" and kill it like other snakes do.

Below is a pictorial of a way I commonly use to feed my Rubber Boas. I use this method as it is easy to determine how much a snake ate, and puts them in close proximity to the prey to minimize the time spent feeding them, and removes them from the substrate in their cage so they do not ingest any. Alternatively, food can be placed directly in their cage and is illustrated on a separate page about Feeding Babies

Click on any photo to see larger high resolution image.

Start with a clean plastic tub. I like the large Country Crock tub for adult females, a small butter tub for males, and typically something even smaller for babies, like a yogurt container. Alternatively, there are the plastic deli cups, or for the high quality durable one, you can ruin an otherwise perfect rubbermaid container of the right size. Use a soldering iron with the small round tip to melt holes in the lid. This works so much better than drilling or poking holes in the top. There will be no sharp edges to the holes doing it this way. Ventilation should always be provided. You would hate to forget about your snake, or leave it all night to eat, and find it suffocated.
Once the container is set, place the mice in. I raise my own mice, and usually have the option of feeding live or prekilled. Once baby mice start crawling around (like the ones above), it is best to prekill them. A baby mouse that size is not a threat to an adult Rubber Boa, but Rubbers are much shyer feeders than other snakes. They do not always strike at movement, but rather may be deterred by it and seek to get away. Although they will strike sometimes at a moving mouse, they prefer to take their time to nose, nudge, and smell their prey before deciding to eat.
Now place the snake in with the mice. This is a female that is not quite sexually mature, but likely will be by next spring. She is a bit larger than a full grown male. The mice in the picture are the ideal size for a meal, and about three would be perfect. Although, she can eat much bigger items.
Be sure to put the feeding container with the snake inside BACK INSIDE THE CAGE, and secure the lid! They are incredible escape artists, and although the lid may seem secure, don't take the chance. I have had several push the lid off of these types of containers.
I peeked back in at this lady about 15 minutes later and look what I found. One gone and the other going. If it has not eaten, close everything back up, and leave it overnight. The food will likely be gone by morning.

For more feeding information, see the juvenile Feeding Page,
and the Chain Feeding Page.

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© 2001 by Ryan Hoyer.