Dumeril’s Boa Temperatures & Humidity Needs

Lighting

The nice thing about having a snake is that you don’t need UVB lighting. However, recent studies suggest that UVB can be beneficial for snakes’ long-term physical and mental health. If you would like to use a UVB as the primary source of light, use a low-intensity fluorescent tube (not coil) like the Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0. This bulb will need to be changed every 6 months, even if it seems to be still working.

The nice thing about having a ground dwelling snake is that you don’t need a heat lamp. That being said, installing a standard fluorescent tube for lighting is nice for viewing. And since Dumeril’s boas are nocturnal, placing the light on a timer can help your snake regulate its day/night rhythm. Set the timer for 12 hours on, 12 off.

Temperatures

Like all reptiles, Dumeril’s boas need a heat gradient so they can regulate their own temperature. The cool end should be 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the warm end should be 80-85.

There are a few methods for supplying heat. Which one is best depends on your preference.

Heat pad: Many snake keepers use a heat pad placed under the designated “warm” end of the enclosure. However, heat pads have a nasty tendency to overheat, so make sure to buy one with an adjustable thermostat so you don’t accidentally burn your snake. I made the mistake of using a heat pad sans thermostat, and it not only warped the bin, but also changed the color of the wood beneath.

Heat tape: Commonly sold by Flex Watt, this is an interesting technology that works under the enclosure floor (like a heat pad) as a steady source of warmth for your snake. Also like heat pads, it comes with the risk of shorting out or overheating. Using a dimmer switch with this product is a must! For more information about heat tape, visit http://www.reptilebasics.com/heattape-faq.

Radiant heat panel: These seem to be the general preference among experienced and/or large snake keepers. They’re more expensive than a heat pad, but you install them on the side of the enclosure to naturally raise the air (ambient) temperature. They’re also more reliable for regulating temperature, and since heat panels are installed on the side rather than bottom, burn risk is minimized.

DO NOT USE HEAT ROCKS!

For some inane reason, heat rocks are still being sold by pet stores as a “safe” source of heat for your reptile. Though safety improvements have been made in recent years, there is still a danger of your snake getting burned. Furthermore, they’re not a good choice for heating your enclosure, as the device only warms the rock, not the surrounding air.

Whichever method of heating you use, keep track of the temperature with an infrared heat gun like the Etekcity Lasergrip 774. They’re super accurate, fun to use, and inexpensive, so you don’t have any excuses.

Humidity

Dumeril’s boas do best between 40-60% humidity. This can usually be maintained with a large water bowl in the center of the enclosure and a covered top. Occasional misting (use a sprayer like this one) may be needed to maintain humidity, especially during shedding when humidity should be at a constant 60-70%. My favorite tool for keeping track of humidity is the Zilla digital thermometer-hygrometer.


PRO TIP: Use softened water for misting. Hard water stains are tough to get rid of, but it also extends the life of your mister.

Next → Substrate (bedding) options for your Dumeril’s boa