Dumeril’s Boa Care Guide

Dumeril’s Boa (Acrantophis dumerili)

Difficulty: Intermediate

Published: July 31, 2016 Last Updated: November 10, 2020

Dumeril's boa native range - Madagascar

Dumeril’s boas (not to be confused with the Madagascar ground boa) are ground-dwelling, ovoviviparous snakes native to the spiny thickets/forests in the southwestern region of Madagascar, a large island off the southeast coast of Africa. This part of Madagascar is quite dry, unlike the rainforest people usually associate with the island.

Dumeril’s boas are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. They are also constrictors, using powerful muscles to squeeze their prey until it passes out (a relatively quick process, within seconds according to this study).

Dumeril’s boas demonstrate a lot of variation in adult size, ranging anywhere from 4’-8’ long, although some individuals have been documented around 9’. Dumeril’s boas also grow and mature slowly — taking about 5 years to reach full adulthood — but live between 15 to 20 years in captivity, with some living even longer. 

Boas in general tend to be on the nippy side, but Dumeril’s boas are acknowledged as relatively calm and reluctant to bite. They actually err on the side of being extremely shy. When they do bite, it’s out of an overzealous feeding response rather than aggression. More on that here.

Acrantophis dumerili is a CITES Appendix I species, and their status in the wild is categorized as Vulnerable by the IUCN due to deforestation by the charcoal industry and human violence. That being said, Dumeril’s boas readily breed in captivity and are relatively easy to find available from breeders.

Fun facts:

  • Dumeril’s boas are very strong. In fact, they are noticeably stronger than boa constrictors of the same size!
  • Their beautifully unique pattern, designed for camouflage in leaves on the forest floor, also features the same rainbow iridescence as rainbow boas thanks to special reflective ridges on their scales.
Photo via CC BY 2.0 by Rob Bulmahn

Dumeril’s Boa Care Guide — Table of Contents:

  1. The Dumeril’s Boa Shopping List
  2. Terrarium Size Guidelines
  3. Light, Heat & Humidity Requirements
  4. Substrate Options
  5. Decorating Your Snake’s Terrarium
  6. How to Feed Your Dumeril’s Boa
  7. Handling Tips
  8. Common Diseases & Other Health Info
  9. Additional Resources

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