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Colombian Rainbow Boa Care Guide

Welcome to the definitive guide on Colombian Rainbow Boa Care, tailored for enthusiasts passionate about nurturing these mesmerizing creatures. Known for their iridescent scales and gentle temperament, Colombian Rainbow Boas (Epicrates maurus) offer a unique experience to intermediate reptile keepers.

This guide dives deep into their care, from setting up the perfect habitat to ensuring their health and happiness. Whether you’re a seasoned herpetologist or looking to welcome your first boa, discover essential tips and practices to help your Colombian Rainbow Boa thrive.

Columbian Rainbow Boa Facts

  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Boidae
  • Scientific Name: Epicrates maurus
  • Risk Factor: Nonvenomous, constrictor
  • Average Adult Size: 3 – 5 feet (0.9 m – 1.5 m)
  • Lifespan: 15 – 24 years
  • Clutch Size: 5 to 15 offspring
  • Gestation Period: 3-4 months
  • Food: Thawed feeder mice
  • Average Temperature: 90° H/68° L
  • Humidity: 75 – 80%
  • UVB Lighting: Optional
  • Average Price Range: $50 to $200
  • Conservation Status: No special status
Colombian rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchria maurus) crawling on the stone
Colombian rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchria maurus) crawling on the stone

Location and Climate

Native to the Amazon region of South America and Trinidad & Tobago, the Colombian Rainbow Boa thrives in rainforest environments and coastal clearings. Their habitat must mimic these conditions, focusing on temperature gradients and high humidity.

Colombian Rainbow Boa Care Sheet

Suggested Products


REPTI ZOO 50 Gallon Reptile Glass Terrarium Tank Double Hinge Door with Screen Ventilation Large Reptile Terrarium 36" x 18" x 18"(Knock-Down)

You can keep them in glass terrarium like the ReptiZoo above when they are younger, but as they grow we would recommend a larger wooden vivarium. If you still want to watch the snake, one side of the vivarium can have a glass panel.

Since wood is a great insulator, it will allow you to easily control the temperature within. Also, a wooden terrarium/vivarium provides better air circulation than a glass terrarium can.

The vivarium has to be 59 inches (150 cm) long, 24 inches (60 cm) high and 40 inches (100 cm) wide. They are large snakes that can grow up to 6 feet. As such, they need a lot of room to live comfortably. A large terrarium also allows you to create temperature gradients.

The enclosure needs a large basin of water. It should be large enough for the snake to lie entirely in it. The water should be clean and the bowl must be heavy. This prevents it from being easily tipped over.

Depending on the age, the boa may enjoy climbing. You can provide branches for them to climb onto. It is also important to provide hiding spots. This makes them feel safe and reduces stress.

Exo Terra Reptile Den Extra Large

An artificial cave such as the Exo Terra Reptile Cave or an overturned clayey plant pot with an opening is good hiding spot. The snake needs to be able to hide its entire body in this spot.

Ensure there is no escape. The rainbow boa will try to escape if they can and they are good at it. You can use screen clips or a fresh air screen cover to ensure the vivarium is properly secured.


Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber Bedding Substrate for reptiles, amphibians, or invertebrates

Substrates that help maintain high humidity is best. An example is coconut fiber bedding. Peat litter, aspen bedding or bark litter are suitable substitutes. You can also use newspapers.

Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber Bedding is an excellent bedding material. It helps maintain optimal humidity levels, and it’s nonabrasive. Coarse and abrasive materials such as sand and rocks should not be used as bedding material for the vivarium.


Patternless Columbian Rainbow Boa
Patternless Columbian Rainbow Boa

The daytime temperature of the vivarium needs to be 84 to 90 F (29 to 32 C), while the nighttime temperature needs to be 68 to 73 F (20 to 23 C). It is always a good idea to create a temperature gradient within the vivarium.

This ensures some parts of the vivarium are warmer than other parts. Since reptiles move between the warm and cool areas in other to regulate their temperature, a temperature gradient is desirable.

A heat mat can be placed under a third of the vivarium. This will warm up that part of the aquarium. The heat pad needs to achieve temperatures of 86 to 90 F. Prolonged temperatures over 90 F is detrimental to this species.

Use ceramic heat bulbs to maintain an air temperature of around 88 F during the day. A bulb guard should be used to protect the bulb and prevent injuries and damages.

Heat maps such as iPower Reptile Heat Pad can be used in conjunction with Zoo Med Digital Thermostat Controller to regulate the temperature of the vivarium.

For more check out our review of the best reptile thermostats.


Zoo Med Labs Digital Thermometer Humidity Gauge, Single (TH-31)

Rainbow boas need high humidity levels. A humidity level of 75 to 85 percent is necessary. The climate of your vicinity can make maintaining this humidity levels easy or not.

If you live in a place where humidity is already high, maintaining high humidity within the snake’s vivarium will be easy. However, if you live in a dry place, maintain high humidity levels will be difficult.

It is important to track humidity levels using a humidity monitor like the Zoo Med one pictured above.

The bedding of the vivarium can help keep humidity levels high. Cypress mulch, sphagnum, and green moss, and coconut fiber bedding retain moisture and promote high humidity. Mist the bedding daily to keep it moist. It is a good idea to provide a humid box of damp sphagnum moss.


Lighting should be used to maintain a day-night cycle. This reptile requires 10-12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness each day. A day-night cycle reduces stress.

A fluorescent light can be used to provide 12 hours of light. Since they are nocturnal, the lights need to be off at night. This encourages the snake to be active. Use a timer like the Zilla Programmable Timer to ensure the lights come on and go off when they must. Alternatively, you can turn the lights off and on yourself.

Feeding the Colombian Rainbow Boa

MiceDirect Frozen Mice Small Pinkie Feeder Snake Food for Corn Snakes Ball Pythons Lizards (.5-1 inch)(50 Count)

In the wild, they eat small lizards, bats, birds, rodents and other small mammals. However, in captivity, you can feed your pet with thawed mice or chicks. Although you can offer live prey, it is best to offer dead prey as it is simply more practical.

During feeding, use a pair of tweezers or tongs as this prevents any accidental bites. If you feed the boa a live prey, supervise the feeding process. If there are several snakes housed in the same vivarium, separate them when feeding.

Feed the young every 5 or 6 days with a thawed mouse as large as the girth. Feed adults every 7 to 10 days. If they are any signs of obesity, reduce the frequency of feeding. The prey needs to be smaller than the widest portion of the snake.

These boas can easily become obese. To prevent this, weigh your pet regularly and reduce the frequency of feeding if it is getting too heavy.

Always provide a basin of water. This water needs to be changed every other day. Also, change the water whenever it looks dirty. As already mentioned, these snakes frequently bathe in the water provided.

Socializing and Handling Tips

Albino Columbian Rainbow Boa
Albino Columbian Rainbow Boa

Colombian Rainbow Boas are known for their docile nature, making them excellent candidates for handling and interaction. Start socializing your boa at a young age to get them accustomed to human contact.

Handle your snake gently and with confidence, supporting their body and avoiding sudden movements. Regular, but not excessive, handling helps them become more comfortable with you. Always wash your hands before and after handling to prevent scent confusion and potential stress.

Colombian Rainbow Boa’s Lifespan

Ghost Columbian Rainbow Boa (Epicrates cenchria maurus)
Ghost Columbian Rainbow Boa (Epicrates cenchria maurus)

It is difficult to conclusively determine the lifespan of the wild populations. It is, however, much easier to document their life expectancy in captivity. On average, captive members of this species have lifespans of 15 to 20 years.

Breeding Colombian Rainbow Boas

Breeding Colombian Rainbow Boas requires mimicking natural conditions of shorter days and cooler temperatures. Females give birth to live offspring, usually between 5 to 15 babies.

Health Issues

Granit Columbian rainbow boa
Granit Columbian rainbow boa

It is important that the vivarium is always clean. All excrement must be removed as soon as possible. In the same way, ensure the bedding is changed regularly. The water provided need to be changed when it is dirty, this should be every 3 days. The enclosure has to be cleaned once a week.

To prevent a build-up for bacteria, the vivarium needs to be disinfected using a 10% bleach solution. The vivarium needs to be properly rinsed with clean water and allowed to dry after it is disinfected.

While they hardly get ill, watch out for symptoms such as dry wrinkly scales, recurrent vomiting, excessive mucus, difficulty breathing and denting eye.

A major cause of premature death among rainbow boas is dehydration and overheating. This is particularly true of Brazilian rainbow boas. Colombian rainbow boas are much more resilient. However, ensure temperature and humidity levels are optimal.

Common Issues and Solutions

Shedding Problems: Ensure your boa’s habitat maintains the right humidity level (75-85%). If shedding issues persist, create a “humidity box” with moist sphagnum moss for your snake to aid in the shedding process.

Dietary Concerns: A varied diet of thawed rodents, appropriately sized for the boa, promotes health. If your snake shows disinterest in food, verify the prey’s size and the enclosure’s temperature.

Escape Attempts: Secure the enclosure with locks or clips. Colombian Rainbow Boas are curious and can escape through surprisingly small gaps. Regularly inspect the habitat for potential escape routes.

Pricing and Availability

This species is readily available at moderate prices. On average, these snakes will cost you about $60. However, the morphs are much more expensive and can reach prices of $1000.

Common morphs include leucistic, albino, het, black-eyed, blue-eyed, snow (albino x anery) and anery.

Popular sites you can purchase them from include Morph Market and Snakes at Sunset.


Though not endangered, always ensure your pet comes with the necessary CITES paperwork to promote responsible reptile ownership.

Columbian Rainbow Boa Setup Video

FAQs on Colombian Rainbow Boa Care

Are Rainbow Boas Hard to Take Care of?

While not overly demanding, Colombian Rainbow Boas require attention to detail, especially regarding humidity and temperature. With proper setup and regular maintenance, they can be rewarding pets for intermediate reptile enthusiasts.

What Temperature Should a Colombian Rainbow Boa Be Kept At?

The daytime temperature should range between 84°F to 90°F (29°C to 32°C), with a cooler area of 68°F to 73°F (20°C to 23°C) at night. This gradient supports their thermoregulation needs.

Do Colombian Rainbow Boas Like Water?

Yes, they appreciate water and will often soak, especially before shedding. Provide a sizable water dish that allows them to fully submerge.

What Size Tank Does a Colombian Rainbow Boa Need?

For an adult Colombian Rainbow Boa, a minimum enclosure size of 4 feet in length by 2 feet in width is recommended. Larger is always better to accommodate their size and activity level.

Veterinary Care and Health Monitoring

Routine Check-ups: Schedule annual veterinary visits for a general health assessment, focusing on weight, skin condition, and signs of respiratory issues.

Signs of Ill Health: Be vigilant for symptoms like lethargy, refusal to eat, wheezing, or mucus around the mouth and nostrils, which could indicate respiratory infections. Unusual feces or a lack of shedding could signal digestive or skin health issues.

Emergency Care: Establish a relationship with a veterinarian experienced in reptile care. Having a go-to professional can be lifesaving in emergencies.

Proactive care, including maintaining a clean habitat, monitoring health, and ensuring proper diet and environmental conditions, are key to a long, healthy life for your Colombian Rainbow Boa. With the right knowledge and commitment, you’ll enjoy the unique companionship these beautiful snakes offer.


The Colombian Rainbow Boa is a fascinating choice for reptile enthusiasts looking for a slightly more resilient species within the rainbow boa family. With proper care, these snakes can be a long-lived and rewarding companion.

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