2 You Would Most Likely See A Diurnal Animal Viper Boa Care (Candoia aspera aspera)

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Viper Boa Care (Candoia aspera aspera)

Viper Boas are a wonderful species of snake to look at. They are very robust, with hard ‘keeled’ scales and a pointed head. They are usually a dull brown, although they can be a wonderful bright red or orange. They do however, change color with the seasons, temperature and perhaps mood swings. I have had wonderful orange specimens that turn dark brown with time. Almost all Viper Boas are wild caught, in fact, I have never heard of any successful breeder who has bred and raised these. Gravid (pregnant) females are often introduced and have their children in captivity. However, most of these die within six months for little or no apparent reason. In time, we can hopefully learn more about this species and successfully reproduce it in captivity. Viper Boas are silent snakes, but when handled incorrectly can slither from side to side with lightning speed. Although they are not poisonous, they have a very nasty bite. Adult females can reach 80 cm; Men are less than half the size.


When keeping any snake as a pet, you generally want to be able to view the snake from outside of its enclosure, in the most natural environment that can be provided. This will be more aesthetically pleasing and also help in the general condition of the snake. If the snake likes its environment, it will have a better feeding response and will generally grow faster. A larger vivarium also gives more interest to the snake’s life, and by adding branches and other natural products, you will increase the snake’s quality of life, and stop it from becoming anxious and overweight. Also, the stronger it is you should have more resistance to any viral infections or any other problems you may encounter later in life.

For an adult Viper Boa, a vivarium 60cm Length x 45cm Width x 45cm Height is minimal. This is my race; many specimens when bought into captivity can go for several months without feeding. It is important that this transition period is as stress-free as possible. A small, hidden structure with no added light, away from the ‘report’ people may need. Once the boa is eating regularly, a larger vivarium with electricity can be offered.

Snake enclosures can be made from a number of materials. The most used is melamine wood that covers all sides except the front, which has glass sliding doors. Aquariums can also be used for Viper Boas, although a special cover should be purchased or made instead of the original aquarium cover. It’s important when you’re thinking about what enclosure to use, you think about these 6 ‘SSSHHH’ factors:

1) Safety – Can the snake or owner injure itself from the enclosure or any materials held within?

2) Safe – Can the snake escape through any small hole or hole?

3) Size – Will the enclosure be the appropriate size?

4) Heating – Can the enclosure properly regulate temperature?

5) Humidity – Will the enclosure last well in humid conditions? Is there enough air for moisture to escape?

6) Hygienic – Will the enclosure build lots of bacteria in the small holes? Is it easy to clean?

By following the steps above, you can have a good enclosure made from different materials.


Décor in your tank serves two purposes. The first is an additional cover for your snake and second, allowing for a more natural and attractive appearance. When choosing jewelry, think about snake protection. Make sure that whatever you decide to use, it is secure and there are no rocks, sticks or anything heavy that could fall and possibly injure, or even kill the snake. You must also make sure that everything used is free. If you have brought anything from outside, or that was originally from outside, such as cork bark, you should cook, or place the item in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes. Freezing works for a few of the parasites, however others have been known to survive months in freezing conditions. Some of the parasites found in English conditions in recent winters have sub-zero temperatures, so they are not completely effective.

Once all your jewelry is free, then it is safe to move it into your enclosure. As a general rule, if you can put pressure on something to attack it, the Viper Boa is definitely capable of doing so. When carrying rocks or heavy objects, make sure they are completely secured. If you are still worried, screw them or use superglue to fix them securely. If it’s not possible, the rule is simple: Do not place anything in the vivarium!

If you decide to go for a large enclosure, you must provide plenty of cover and hiding areas. Storage can be anything from a tupperware box with a hole cut out to a natural piece of cork bark. There are many brands of artificial plants and decorations that you can use that are safe for animals and pleasing to the eye. Cork bark is available from almost any reptile pet shop in the UK, and can be ordered if they don’t have it in stock. This is the best cover for any reptile and is 100% natural. One thing you must consider when thinking about the size of the vivarium, the bigger it goes, the more hiding area you must provide. I recommend at least one storage per foot at the end of the enclosure.

NOTE: Do not use adhesive tape on the enclosure; this is an accident waiting to happen. Believe me; removing sticky tape from any snake is not an easy task!


Viper Boas are found on forest floors and are exposed to fairly constant temperatures. They don’t grow in the sun and so it’s not as important as it is to provide them with a dedicated hot spot. Instead, having a constant air temperature of 85-90ºF during the day and 80-85ºF during the night is good. A large body of water should be provided for the snake to fully submerge if needed. If your boa viper does this often, the vivarium is most likely too hot and should be cooled down a bit.

In my opinion, the best way of heating the Viper Boa storage is to use a power plate. This is a small thin square plate, about 25mm thick which has reached into the top of the vivarium. It does not need to be protected, because there is no way a snake can get hold of it. It is almost invisible to the eye as it simply sits on the ceiling of the vivarium. A brand available in the UK is the HabiStat Reptile Radiator; it is 75 Watts and is sufficient for any vivarium up to 4ft long and possibly larger. It does not produce fire and so in a vivarium you will need a form of fire as well. The power plate should be used in conjunction with the HabiStat Pulse Proportional Thermostat, which will stop power reaching the power plate once the temperature goes above the setting, and turn it back on once it gets too cold. This is one of the most accurate thermostats on the market today.

Ceramic heaters, spot bulbs and heating mats are also methods of heating a vivarium. All of these have their advantages and disadvantages, but in my opinion, no one is as good as a power plate.


Viper Boas are primarily nocturnal, meaning they come out in the dark of night. This is when their main predators are sleeping, and their prey is awake. Light for this species is not important. However, having artificial lighting in the vivarium is a nice touch to the owner, and is a nice addition to a snake enclosure. They will use this as photo-timer, and their regular timer will generally adjust to the settings you set your light to.

They do not require any form of special light, such as D3 Ultra-violet light that is common for diurnal species. Arcadia Light Natural Sun Fluorescent Lamp is a good way of lighting. This comes in lengths of 12″ up to 48″ and I suggest you use the largest size that can fit in your vivarium.


Viper Boas occur over much of New Guinea and surrounding islands and are therefore exposed to high humidity. This should also be done in captivity to help the overall health and well-being of your snake. A humidity level of 80-90% will allow the snake to soften its skin properly and make it less prone to any problems such as respiratory infections.


Children or men should be given a mouse or a small mouse, and as they grow the mouse or mouse should be bigger. Adult female boa constrictors should feed on suckling rats. One of these every 2 weeks is minimal. An adult male can catch fuzzy mice or giant mice. Children should eat regularly, every 7 days is ideal. Their metabolic rate is higher than adults and as they grow, they need a lot more food to keep them going. Viper Boas have a low production compared to most snakes, they live very little and do not need the same amount of food that many other species do. Snakes have the ability to build up a large fat reserve, and get very fat easily. Losing weight however, is a much more difficult task. Obese snakes will not live as long as a healthy snake would because of liver and kidney problems. If you are unsure about your snake’s weight, check with a professional veterinarian.

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