Boa constrictors have become one of the most popular of all snake species in recent years for good reason. They are truly beautiful snakes, generally quite docile and easy to handle, and with relatively modest care requirements. They are however a large snake, and as such require a large and sturdy enclosure. There are a number of different approaches to housing boas, so let’s take a look at each in turn.
Melamine is a synthetic sheet material comprised of chipboard covered in a waterproof plastic veneer. It is inexpensive, lightweight and waterproof making it an ideal material for snake enclosures. Vivariums can be purchased ready built, or flat-packed in a huge assortment of sizes. They can also be ordered in custom sizes from many supplier, and are quite simple to build for anyone with reasonable DIY skills.
Typically they are rectangular with sliding glass doors at the front. Grilles or air vents must be included as good ventilation is essential. A 6′ by 2′ by 2′ vivarium is ideal for an adult boa.
Melamine vivariums are a popular choice, since they are sturdy, inexpensive and easy to clean. Care must be taken however with the internal corners which can be difficult to clean and harbour bacteria.
Modern plastic vivariums are now available in an ever increasing range of sizes. They are sturdy and lightweight and have rounded internal corners making them very easy to keep clean. They are available with sliding or hinged doors, and some are pre-wired for heating and lighting.
They tend to be more expensive than melamine vivariums, and there isn’t always such a wide range of sizes available, but their ease of set-up and use make them very popular choices for housing boas.
Built in vivarium
An alternative to using a shop bought or DIY standard vivarium is to build one in place. If you have a suitable alcove such as between 2 walls, or under the stairs, a built in vivarium can look great, and give your snake a lot of room. The exact size and shape will depend on the room available, so you must take that into consideration before deciding on a built in enclosure. Boas are mostly terrestrial so floor area is more important than height, although many boas will climb is given the chance, especially when young.
The advantages of a built in enclosure are of course the ability to tailor the look and size specifically to your needs, and built in enclosures can look fantastic.
The final choice on how to house your boa will be a matter of personal choice. Depending on your budget, the space you have available, and possibly your DIY skills you have a number of options. While there are other housing options, the three I’ve covered here are the most suitable for anyone keeping a single boa at home.