Hog Island Boa Constrictor Care Sheet
If you’re thinking about taking care of a pet snake, why not choose a Hog Island Boa Constrictor? It’s a popular choice nowadays for people who are interested but hesitant to care for boa constrictors due to their usually large size.
Well, Hog Island Boas are smaller compared with the common boa and they are docile by nature too. With proper set-up and care, you and your pet Hog Island Boa will get along in no time. Read on to know more about this colorful and interesting pet.
Quick Reference Section
- Experience level: Best for Intermediate reptile pet owners
- Family: Boidae
- Scientific name: Boa Constrictor Imperator
- Average adult size: 4 to 6 feet (1.2m – 1.8m)
- Lifespan: 20 to 30+ years
- Clutch size: 25 on average
- Egg incubation period: 100 to 120 days
- Food: rodents, small mouse or moderate-sized rats
- Average Temperature: 29°C to 32°C
- Humidity: 60% to 70%
- UVB lighting: optional
- Average price range: $180 – $200
- Conservation Status: Severely Threatened in the 80s but the population is believed to be slowly recovering from 2004.
Hog Island Boa Constrictor Facts
Commonly called as the Hog island boa, the Boa Constrictor Imperator (scientific name) is originally from Cayos de Cochinos islands, off the Honduran coast. It does not have its own species classification. It is a variety of the common boa constrictor with 2 differences: color and size.
The Hog Island boa is low in black pigment or hypomelanistic. This makes the skin very colorful since other shades stand out. You’d surely find the light brown, pink, orange, and even blue color patterns quite interesting and lovely to look at.
Don’t be surprised to see your Hog Island boa pet to be plain milky white or light in the mornings. It will surely get darker and show its recognizable markings by the evening.
As for the size, common boas may reach 12 feet long but hog island boas will only grow up to 6 feet max. They’re kind of the dwarfs in the species.
The population range is restricted to 37 miles around the islands. A protection order was set around the area in 1993 and local numbers slowly recovered through the years.
With the practice of exploitation, hunting, and both legal and illegal importation, you may likely find Hog Island boas in various countries today. If you’re planning to get one for a pet, make sure to get one from a reputable, legal, and ethical source.
Hog Island Boa Constrictor Habitat
In its natural habitat, researchers observe them to be most active during the wet season. In the wild, they are seen on the islands of Honduras and about 37 miles off the island as well. In the wild, locals also notice that Hog Island boas love basking in the sun out in the open.
Life will surely be different in captivity. So, before you bring a Hog Island Boa home, make sure that everything is prepared for your pet and that its living conditions are optimum.
The good thing about Hog Island boas is that they don’t require a large enclosure or housing. Some even put them in a small box while they are still young. And it is not uncommon to find seasoned reptile owners pulling them out of a simple box to show to their house guests.
Well, whether you keep them in a box or a small vivarium is up to you. Just remember that the ideal size is to house your pet snake in an enclosure with a length and depth that equal the actual length of your pet Hog Island.
As for the kind of vivarium, there are good ones made of glass or wood. Glass is a typical choice if you want to showcase your pet or if you want to keep it visible especially if you’re not fond of handling your pet. A wooden vivarium is a good choice for those who want more insulation from heat and better air ventilation.
The body of reptiles is covered in bacteria naturally. That’s why it’s important to regularly clean their enclosures. Cleanse the vivarium from shedding, urates, and feces daily. If not, bad bacteria may grow and cause health problems.
Disinfect weekly. Use hot water to sterilize the contents like branches, rocks, etc. Buy a sand sifter so you can take debris and fecal matter out of the sand. Use a specific cleaner that can remove hardened matter on surfaces.
A good substrate for your Hog Island boa would be one that holds moisture well. Maintaining humidity is important. There are a variety of choices in stores: bark chips, beech chips, lignocel, cage carpet, and more. The choice will depend on the particular look you want and your budget. Keep a bowl of water and change it daily. Water evaporation will help with the humidity.
Temperature and Humidity
Since the Hog Island boa is a tropical islander, heat and humidity are essential. Keep the temperature around 29°C with humidity levels to about 60%. Using a heater will ensure that you get good control over hitting and maintaining the right temperature.
Choose one with a thermostat as this helps keep temperatures at right levels at all times. Thermostats also prevent overheating problems. Remember to put a guard so that your curious Hog Island boa doesn’t come in contact with it and suffer from burns.
Remember to maintain a hot side and a cool side so your pet Hog Island boa can transfer on either side depending on its needs. The hot side should be no hotter than 32°C while the cool side could fall down to 26°C.
The common opinion is that snakes don’t need lighting so it is optional. As a reptile pet owner, you ought to consider the benefits to installing one for your pet.
Keep in mind that besides day and night illumination that enables you to see your pet at all times, there are other things illumination like UVB lighting can provide for your Hog Island boa.
UVB helps synthesize Vitamin D in reptile skin. Now what does Vitamin D do? It helps strengthen bones and metabolize calcium in the body. Also, just like from sunlight, UV rays from your lighting equipment will help kill off bacteria and act as a disinfectant and immune system strengthener for your pet Hog Island boa.
Provide your pet with generous spots within the vivarium where it can hide away. You can buy a hide or two; in fact, the more the better. You can also decorate the hide with damp moss for increased humidity.
Put in some branches to make the enclosure more natural to its feel and to provide some climbing areas for your pet Hog Island boa. Add some greenery, a plant or two.
Hog Island Boa Constrictor Feeding
Snakes are basically good feeders so expect your Hog Island boa to have a good appetite. Mice are good for a young one but transition it to rats as your pet gets larger. Remember not to give very large ones. These have sharp claws and teeth that may damage the insides of your pet Hog Island boa.
Give your Hog Island boa a small feeding once a week or a large feeding every other week. Remember to use tongs at all times. Handling the mouse or rat with your bare hands may transfer some food scent over to your fingers and cause your pet snake to bite you.
For added safety, you can buy a snake hook which you can use to take your pet out of the enclosure each time. This lets your pet know that it’s not feeding time and you won’t risk yourself of getting bitten in its anticipation of food being put in.
Lack of Appetite
Your pet may refuse feeding while it’s shedding or during winter. This is normal and should normalize soon after the period passes. Just keep offering food once a week or twice (for bigger portions) to check on its appetite.
Temperament and Handling
The Hog Island boa is naturally calm and passive. It is generally willing to be handled. Nurture its obedient and agreeable spirit through sufficient feeding and healthy overall care. Snakes often become aggressive when it is stressed and when its surroundings don’t feel safe.
When your pet arrives, give it time to adjust and settle before taking it out of the box or enclosure. Let it relax and recover from the transport and let it feel at home with you and the surroundings before you make a habit of taking it out for handling.
Also, provide support for your pet boa’s body as you hold it up. Though they like to move around and explore, they will settle down after a few minutes.
Handle the snake from behind not from the front of the head. Letting it see your hand darting forwards may feel offensive and it may lunge in defense of itself. Also, avoid touching its head especially when it’s new. Establish trust and relationship before doing that as snakes tend to jerk away when they distrust a handler.
The typical lifespan of a Hog Island boa constrictor is 20 to 30 years. With highly experienced pet owners, it can live over 30 years.
Common Health Concerns (Issues/Solutions)
Generally, all boa constrictors are strong, healthy reptiles. Studies show only 1 health concern, which could be deadly to boas. It’s called Inclusion Body Disease.
How common is it? Out of 131 snakes that were tested, 87% did not have the disease. What are the symptoms to watch out for? Some are: head tremors, periodic or chronic regurgitation, anorexia, abnormal shedding, and clogged nostrils.
What’s the cure? IBD in boas and pythons is very much like HIV in humans. This retrovirus is fatal. Proper and preventive care are your best solutions.
Pricing and Availability
Current prices average between $180-$200 but expect a hefty price tag from highly reputable sellers and sources. This reptile can be in high demand and may not be readily available. You can scout for availability at reptile expos, Facebook groups, and placement ads from reputed sites and shops.
Because of overcollection and exploitation, authorities feared the Hog Island Boas would become extinct. The population was highly threatened in the 80s due to habitat destruction and hunting practices by natives. In 1986, there was no sighting of a single Hog Island boa and biologists feared that there were no survivors.
Thankfully, the island was granted protection with authorities officially declaring Cayos de Los Cochinos and its adjacent waters a nature reserve and a marine protected area from 1993.
Video on the Hog Island Boa Constrictor
With a calm temperament and highly attractive coloration, the Hog Island Boa is an interesting creature to add to your pet family. Would it make a good pet? Yes!
If you are calm and loving yourself and you take care to know all the necessary information to be a proper carer of this animal, then it will grow up to be an agreeable and calm pet in your home.
If you are a novice at reptiles, consider carefully before taking on a Hog Island Boa for a first pet as it is suitable for intermediate reptile pet owners.
Hopefully, this guide would have provided you with sufficient information about Hog Island boas. What’s your take on having this reptile for a pet?
If you already care for one, how has your personal experience been with caring for this pet reptile? We’d love to hear about it so please leave your comments below.