Terrarium decorations are more than just another means to waste your money and/or make your Dumeril’s boa terrarium look prettier. While they can serve an aesthetic function, they also enhance a reptile’s quality of life by mimicking their natural environment and providing mental stimulation. The best zoos do this all the time — it’s called environmental enrichment. A common misconception is that reptiles are stupid creatures that don’t need “toys” or decorations beyond their keeper’s fancy, so modern reptile husbandry experts are working to disprove this. Read more in this article: Environmental Enrichment For Reptiles ; What? Why? and How…?
The one accessory/item of “decor” that your Dumeril’s boa terrarium will need the most is a hide box. Since these boas are shy creatures, they need a dark, humid hidey-hole to call their own. Whatever you use, it needs to be big enough to fit the whole snake (no mean feat for a large adult female).
For a juvenile, this is easy. Go to the pet store, pick out a large hide/cork round/log, and ta da! You’re done. Ah, the bliss of small snakes…
But if you have an adult, a little more creativity is required. If you’re feeling crafty, you can always make one! Roughly 18”x18-24”x6-8” should do the trick.
Or if you’re not feeling crafty (me!) then you can buy something that can be easily converted into one. I have yet to find a commercially-available hide big enough to fit a 7-9 foot snake, so if you guys know of one, feel free to leave a link in the comments!
I don’t recommend using cardboard boxes, because the snake will crush it sooner or later. Instead, try cutting an entry hole in an upside-down cat litter tray or opaque plastic storage tub. Or you can use a small rectangular trash bin. The possibilities are endless!
Whatever you use, line it with damp sphagnum moss to create a humid retreat. This is especially important when your snake is about to shed.
S/He will also need a water dish large and deep enough for the snake to soak. Place it in the middle of the enclosure, near the heat pad so water can evaporate and contribute to the ambient humidity. Change it daily, or at least every other day.
Dumeril’s boas don’t need a lot of decor, and I find that accessorizing the enclosure only makes it cluttered. Branches become purely aesthetic because Dumeril’s are terrestrial snakes, meaning that they are not climbers — I offered a branch to mine, and he never used it.
One thing you can do, though (and that the snake will actually appreciate), is collect dry, non-chemical-treated leaves during autumn. Scatter them in your boa’s enclosure and watch him/her explore the new scents and textures.
PRO TIP: Clean the enclosure and its decor with chlorhexidine or a bleach solution monthly. If you use bleach, don’t put the snake back in until you can’t smell the bleach fumes any more.