Rainbow boas (Epicrates cenchria) are extensively distributed in South America east of the Andes, Panama and Costa Rica. The species also occurs on Trinidad, Tobago and the Margarita Islands.
Older rainbow boa specimens may grow to 7 feet, the record length for this species slightly exceeds 9 feet.
Rainbows are highly iridescent snakes, the outer layer of a rainbow boa's epidermis is thin, so these snakes require high humidity to thrive.
Boas and pythons require clean enclosures with good ventilation. Most snakes will climb if branches or platforms are provided. Hideboxes should also be provided. All captive snakes require fresh water to drink in bowls made of nonporous materials.
As a general rule, most pythons and boas will do fine in temperatures ranging between 86 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 80 degrees Fahrenheit at night. It's a good idea to provide a basking spot 5 to 7 degrees warmer than the rest of the cage that the snake can voluntarily choose to enjoy.
Boas and pythons are carnivorous animals that will feed on rodents such as mice, rats, hamsters and gerbils. Most pythons and boas are fed once a week.
Photo: Dick Bartlett