Dumeril’s boa terrarium size requirements correlate with the size of the snake. Here’s the minimum dimensions for your snake’s enclosure, based on snake length:
- Baby (<2’) — 2’L x 1.5’W x1.5’H
- Juvenile to Subadult (2’ to 5’) — 4’L x 2’W x 2’H
- Adult (6’ to 8’) — 6’L x 2’W x 2’H
- Large adult (>8′) — 8’L x 2’W x 2’H
A good rule of thumb for Dumeril’s boa enclosure dimensions is that the length and width should add up to equal or greater than the snake’s length.
Dumeril’s boas are highly terrestrial, so floor space is more important than vertical space. That being said, you still want a minimum of 24″/60cm of height to allow for sufficient substrate depth, low climbing objects, and safe distancing between heat and UVB lamps.
The more space (both horizontal and vertical) that you provide to your boa, the more exercise it will be able to get and the healthier it will be in the long-term! Even young Dumeril’s boas can be easily housed in an adult-sized enclosure, provided that they have enough hiding places to feel secure.
What Should a Dumeril’s Boa Terrarium Be Made Of?
Glass: These enclosures tend to be expensive, heavy, not very durable, and can present some trouble with maintaining consistent temperatures and humidity. But it’s because of that latter quality, glass is one of the best materials at dissipating heat, and that it makes creating a temperature gradient much easier. It also helps encourage a natural cycle of drying in the enclosure, which discourages mold growth in a humid environment that could otherwise go out of control very easily. When done right, glass enclosures are very attractive and easy to clean. For best results, help your boa feel more secure by using an opaque material like construction paper to cover all sides but the front.
ReptiFiles recommends the following glass enclosures:
PVC/HDPE: These enclosures are favorites among snake keepers because they hold heat and humidity well, are naturally opaque on three sizes, open from the front, and are extremely durable. It’s also easy to clean, long-lasting, and relatively lightweight. ReptiFiles recommends the following brands:
Wood/Melamine: These materials are a go-to for those who wish to build their own enclosure, as they are easy to source, relatively lightweight, and fairly inexpensive (in the case of wood). But melamine does not do well in a humid environment, as the moisture tends to make the material rot and crumble. It can also harbor mold, which is dangerous to your boa’s health. Wood can be treated with animal-safe (VOC-free) waterproofing agents to become a fairly reliable material for building an enclosure without fear of rapid degeneration.
Tips for Building Your Own Dumeril’s Boa Terrarium
While commercially-available enclosures are often suitable for young Dumeril’s boas, it can be difficult to find housing larger than 4’x2’x2’ that is ready for purchase at an affordable price. So many keepers build their own enclosure to save money without sacrificing their pet’s welfare.
While building an enclosure is not terribly difficult or expensive, it can be complex and time-consuming. The Building Reptile Cages group on Facebook is a very helpful resource for getting started. Here are some other tips for success:
Wood must be coated with a waterproof (outdoor) sealant. Wood rots in the presence of moisture, and since your enclosure will be exposed to fairly high levels of humidity on a regular basis, a sealant will help ensure that your enclosure lasts much longer.
Beware of sealants with VOCs. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are bad for humans and even worse for reptiles, especially snakes. Kennel Seal, Pond Armor, and epoxy are recognized as safe to use for animal enclosures.
Expanded PVC boards can be used for building. This creates an enclosure with all the benefits mentioned above, and the corners/edges can be welded together to create a waterproof seal. However, note that PVC is generally more expensive than lumber, and the quality can vary.
Plan for the enclosure to be front-opening. Swooping in from above is predatory behavior and may evoke a defensive response from your boa if your enclosure opens from the top. For the peace of mind of both you and your snake, attach the front glass in a way (hinges or sliding track) that creates easy access.
Use glass, not acrylic. Glass may be expensive, fragile, and heavy, but it’s worth the investment. Acrylic is known to scratch easily and gets irreversibly cloudy as it ages. Sheet grade polycarbonate is another lightweight alternative that is up to 200x stronger than glass, but this is also very susceptible to scratching.
Securing the Enclosure
Because they are active and rather strong, a Dumeril’s boa will take the opportunity to escape if given a chance. The best way to prevent an escape, then, is to secure the lid (or opening) properly. DO NOT SECURE SNAKE LIDS WITH TAPE! Many snakes have been severely injured by accidentally coming in contact with the sticky side of tape.
If you’re using a glass aquarium, invest in at least 2 (more are required for larger tanks) lid clamps to keep it firmly in place.
If you’re using a front-opening terrarium, a lock or latch will keep it secured.
Finally, if your snake somehow manages to escape, here are some tips for finding a lost snake.
If you want more than one snake, go ahead. But snakes are solitary creatures, and do not get “lonely,” as we humans tend to think. Think of them as extreme introverts instead–they actually get stressed out when forced to be with other snakes all the time. Furthermore, Dumeril’s boas in particular have been known to be cannibalistic (they sometimes eat other snakes, including members of their own species).
So do your shy friend a favor: never house multiple Dumeril’s boas together.