The rosy boa (Lichanura trivirgata) is a species of snake of the family Boidae. The rosy boa is one of only two members of that family native to the United States, the other being the rubber boa (Charina bottae). The rosy boa is native to the American Southwest, and adjacent Baja California and Sonora,Mexico.
Scientific classification :
Binomial name :
Lichanura roseofuscaCope, 1868
Charina trivirgata— Kluge, 1993
These small, attractive snakes normally attain a length of 17–34 in (43–86 cm), although some Coastal specimens from California reach 36–44 in (91–112 cm). A large adult has a body width about the diameter of a golf ball. Coloration in rosy boas is highly variable, and usually locale-specific. The common name is derived from the rosy or salmon coloration that is common on the belly of rosy boas originating from coastal southern California and Baja Mexico. Most rosy boas do not have this ventral coloration but instead have a series of dark to orange spots on a light-colored background.
Almost all rosy boas have at least some trace of three longitudinal stripes, one down the center of the back, and two on the lower sides. The appearance of these stripes varies widely, from extremely straight and having high contrast with the interspaces, to extremely broken with almost no contrast with the interspaces. Stripe colors can be orange, maroon, rust, brown, or black. Interspace colors can be shades of light to dark gray, yellow, or tan.
The rosy boa is found in the southwestern United States in the states of California and Arizona, and northwestern Mexico in the states of Baja California and Sonora. In California, the rosy boa ranges
throughout the Colorado and Mojave deserts and also occupies the coastal areas of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego counties. In Arizona, the rosy boa occupies the Mojave Desert and the western areas of the Sonoran Desert. It is absent from the eastern and northern halves of the state. In Sonora, the rosy boa ranges from the border with the United States south throughout the Sonoran Desert to at least as far south as Ortiz. In Baja California, the rosy boa is almost ubiquitous ranging throughout the entire peninsula except in areas of extremely dry or rockless desert.
Rosy boas spend most of their lives concealed beneath rocks and in crevices to escape the elements and natural predators. Granite outcroppings are the most common geologic association inhabited by the rosy boa. Less often they are found in association with volcanic or other rock types. Only in rare places do rosy boas inhabit rockless environments. In areas with few rocks rosy boas will use rodent burrows for concealment.
Rosy boas' activity season follows local weather patterns; however, they are generally dormant during the winter, and active during the spring, summer and fall. Like all snakes, they are dependent on external temperatures to promote such normal bodily functions as digestion and gestation. Throughout most of their range the winter is too cold for these functions and the rosy boas go into a dormant state called brumation. The spring is breeding season for Rosy Boas, resulting in their highest rate of activity. Most Rosy Boas are encountered in spring as they leave the security of their rock piles and crevices to seek mates. Another reason rosy boas may be active on the surface of the ground is to find prey or new territory.
The surface activity of rosy boas can take place during any hour of the day, but during hot weather they are primarily nocturnal. In the spring, they are often abroad in the afternoon and early evening. In the late spring and summer, this activity period switches from dusk to late into the
night. Because most populations of rosy boas live in exceedingly dry habitats, their activity is often highly moisture dependent. During dry periods they remain deep underground to assist in remaining hydrated. Recent rainfall often results in a flurry of surface activity.
These snakes forage mainly for small mammals but have occasionally been known to take other prey items such as birds and lizards.Pack rats, baby rabbits, deer mice, and kangaroo rats make up a large portion of their diet. Rosy boas are one of the slowest-moving species of snake in the world. They are unable to pursue prey and must either wait in ambush or stalk their meals. When a meal is within reach, usually a few inches, a rosy boa will strike with surprising speed and accuracy. Prey is secured with tiny rows of needle-sharp teeth, then suffocated through constriction.
Rosy boas are extremely docile when encountered by humans. When disturbed they usually roll into a compact ball with the head in the center. The species is not prone to bite in defense, and when human bites have occurred they have usually been the result of a feeding response with a captive animal. All rosy boa bites are nonvenomous. Their extreme docility and their attractive coloration have made rosy boas very popular with herpetoculturists.
A rosy boa from Riverside, California, exhibiting its docile nature.
Rosy boas bear live young, about six in a brood, with newborns about 30 cm (12 in.) in length.
The epithet trivirgata refers to the distinct three stripes that are characteristic of the species. The rosy boa is considered to be the only species within the genus Lichanura, but one researcher has placed it in the genus Charina with the rubber boa. Newer phylogenetic research supports the original arrangement but herpetologists are still not unified on rosy boa taxonomy. The subspecific designations are just as uncertain with many sources not accepting "arizonae" or "saslowi"
-Arizona rosy boa, Lichanura trivirgata arizonae Spiteri, 1991
-Desert rosy boa, Lichanura trivirgata gracia Klauber, 1931 – Ground color laced with well-defined pink, orange or tan longitudinal stripes.
-Coastal rosy boa, Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca Cope, 1868 – Ground color laced with blotchy reddish-brown longitudinal stripes.
-Baja rosy boa, Lichanura trivirgata saslowi Spiteri, 1987
-Mexican rosy boa, Lichanura trivirgata trivirgata Cope, 1861 – Ground color laced with pale, creamy broad longitudinal stripes.
Their generally docile temperament and small size make rosy boas an ideal choice for pet snakes due to their easy care and small enclosure size of 20 US gal (76 l). They are frequently captive bred, and readily feed on commercially available mice. Many color variations are available, including albinos as well as the different subspecies. With other species, such as corn snakes, milk snakes, andball pythons, dominating the majority of the market, the popularity of rosy boas hasn't been as high as other species.
Pet rosy boa eating a mouse
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Rosy Boa Care Sheet
BY GEROLD MERKER, RANDY LIMBURG AND BOB MONTOYA
Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata):
The rosy boa makes an excellent pet. It is a manageable size, a hardy feeder, easy to breed, and rosy boas are usually very docile and tolerate handling well. By following the tips in this care sheet, you can ensure your rosy boa can live a long, healthy life in captivity. Like many other snake species, rosy boas are also available in a wide array of color patterns and morphs, so there is a rosy boa to suit every hobbyist’s taste!
Rosy Boa Availability
Rosy boas are common at reptile specialty stores, herp shows and on the Internet from private breeders. One can be purchased for as little as $25 (usually for non-locality rosy boas), and prices can go up from there. In general, locality-specific rosy boas cost more because a breeder has taken the time to breed rosy boas found in the same locale. Some rosy boa locality types include the Coastal California, Desert Phase and Mexican rosy boas (the latter including the San Matias Pass and Bay of Los Angeles rosy boas, to name a couple).
Rosy Boa Size
Rosy boas range from 10 inches as hatchlings to almost 4 feet in length when mature. The record length is around 48 inches, although such behemoths are rarely seen, even in captivity. Most rosy boas range from 24 to 36 inches and are perfectly suited for keeping in a 10- or 15-gallon terrarium.
Snow coastal rosy boa.
Rosy Boa Life Span
The rosy boa, given proper care, is a very long-lived snake. One of the authors (R.L.) has had a rosy boa in his collection since the early 1970s. REPTILES magazine columnist Ken Foose had one that passed away in 2011 which had been in captivity since the 1950s. These are the exceptions, though captive rosy boas may be expected to live 30 years or more in captivity.
Rosy Boa Enclosure
Simple caging works exceptionally well when maintaining pet rosy boas. Most importantly, any cage must be escape proof–if a rosy boa finds even the tiniest gap, it will likely escape its enclosure. There are many escape-proof cages available, and it is prudent to invest in one. Also provide an enclosure that does not have an abrasive top, such as screening, otherwise your snake may need medical attention due to rostral abrasion. Rosy boas are notorious for rubbing their snouts on cage surfaces while looking for ways to escape their enclosures.
Any rosy boa cage must be escape proof, because rosy boas are adept escape artists.
Hatchling rosy boas can be started in deli cups or similarly sized small containers. Adequate ventilation is essential and can easily be achieved by punching small holes in the side or lid of the cup. These holes should not be so large that the snake can push its nose into the hole, which could cause severe abrasions. Enclosure substrate can consist of a small amount of aspen shavings or a paper towel. The enclosure can be placed on heat tape or placed in an incubator. Temperatures should be between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important to connect heat tapes to a thermostat or a rheostat to maintain the correct temperatures. If the heat tape becomes too hot, the snake may become overheated and a fire hazard can be created.
As your rosy boa grows, so should its enclosure. Medium-sized rosy boas do well in shoebox-sized enclosures. We have kept adults in 10-gallon aquariums for many years with excellent results. These enclosures are easy to clean and are great for setting up thermal regimes that are beneficial to the captive rosy boa. When our rosy boa collection grew in size, we began utilizing a rack system, which is a space saver and works very well in maintaining our colony of rosy boas.
Most snakes are retiring and will appreciate an area in the cage where they can remain hidden from view. A rosy boa is no exception and will utilize a hide, whether it’s homemade from a plastic or cardboard container, or store-bought caves, etc. The security provided by a hide also lessens the likelihood that your rosy boa will rub its snout in an attempt to escape the enclosure. We provide two hides: one in the warm region of the cage and one in the cooler area.
Rosy Boa Substrate Recommendations
Rosy boa substrate can be newspaper, paper towels, wood shavings (not too dusty; never cedar), and CareFresh. A depth of 1 to 2 inches of substrate will result in easy maintenance and also allows your snake to burrow, adding to its feelings of security.
Spot clean at least twice weekly and change the entire substrate six or seven times a year. Dirty substrate may result in the build-up of bacteria, which could be harmful to your rosy boa. A gallon of water mixed with a few tablespoons of soap and a few tablespoons of bleach makes an excellent cleaning solution. After using it, rinse the enclosure, the water bowl and the hide(s) with copious amounts of clean water to ensure all the cleanser is removed from the cage. Dry everything and the cage will be ready for a new layer of substrate, followed by your rosy boa.
Rosy Boa Lighting
Lighting for rosy boas is not necessary, unless you want to use it to help view your pet. However, one of the most important considerations in rosy boa cage design is the creation of a thermal gradient that will allow your snake to choose from a range of temperatures. The easiest way to accomplish this is by placing heat tape (it is available in various lengths) under one side of the cage. To ensure that the heat tape maintains a constant temperature, a good pulse-proportional thermostat is essential. Pulse-proportional thermostats maintain a constant temperature (plus or minus 1 degree Fahrenheit), thus preventing the cage bottom from becoming overly warm.
A temperature gradient of 65 degrees at the cool end of the enclosure to 90 degrees at the warm end is a good starting place. Adjust the range if you notice your rosy boa is constantly moving about the cage (usually, slightly lower temperatures are needed to stop this restlessness). The warm temperatures can be maintained during spring, summer and fall.
A good strategy for maintaining general health of rosy boas is to allow them to cool down for a few months in winter. This simulates what they would be doing in nature, and it is helpful in establishing a good feeding response in the spring. Reluctant feeders, including hatchlings, often come out of this brumation period with a strong feeding response. Prior to cooling, maintain your rosy boa at its usual temperatures without food for 14 days. This will allow the snake to clear its intestines and stomach. Failure to do so could result in a potentially hazardous situation, as cool temperatures inhibit digestion, and if undigested food is left to spoil in your rosy boa’s gastrointestinal tract during the winter, it could lead to its demise.
After the 14-day fasting period, winter cooling is accomplished by simply turning off the heat tapes and allowing the cage to cool to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Rosy boas can be cooled in their individual cages to which clean substrate has been added. During brumation, check your snake weekly and provide fresh water. As spring approaches, you can begin raising the temperature back up gradually.
Rosy Boa Food
Rosy boas do great on domesticated mice and will eat these for their entire lives. A hatchling rosy boa usually starts feeding on fuzzy mice (usually less than 7 days of age), and adults will take small adult mice. It is prudent not to handle your rosy boa too soon after it has eaten; otherwise, it may regurgitate its meal. Feed your rosy boa two to four times monthly during spring, summer and fall. During brumation, do not feed your pet for the reasons mentioned previously.
Occasionally, some rosy boas will not readily feed upon domesticated mice. Several “tricks” can be employed to entice your pet to feed upon this desired food item. A great one is to brumate your rosy boa at 50 to 60 degrees for a month or so. Again, be sure there is no food in the snake prior to lowering the temperature. After a month, slowly warm up the snake. Often, it will feed on a small fuzzy mouse after it’s warmed up.
Rosy Boa Water
Rosy boas do best when they are not provided with a continual water source. We offer ours limited access to water, especially if they are feeding regularly. We usually only provide our rosy boas with water for one day per month. Rosy boas will regurgitate their food if provided with water immediately following a feeding. A better protocol is to offer water for one day, remove the water source, wait a day, and then feed the animal. For hatchlings, a 1-ounce plastic cup stapled to the inside of a hatchling’s container will serve as a non-spilling water dish. For ease of removal, place another 1-ounce plastic cup inside the stapled one. For hatchlings, having water available for one day every three weeks is sufficient under most circumstances.
Rosy Boa Handling and Temperament
A rosy boa is a great subject for gentle handling. If your snake has a strong feeding response, gently nudge it with an inanimate object (such as 12-inch forceps) before reaching into the enclosure to pick it up with your hands. This lets your rosy boa know it is not feeding time.
Let your rosy boa roam about your hands in an unrestrained manner. If you restrain it, your rosy boa will feel uncomfortable and it may try to escape your grasp. Rather than grasping it firmly, always support your rosy boa with both hands so it does not feel threatened.
Gerold Merker, Randy Limburg and Bob Montoya have all been rosy boa enthusiasts since childhood. All three work with numerous rosy boa localities and morphs.
Captive Care By Jorden A Perrett
Rosy boas have found their place in the pet trade, as well as a place in the heart of many reptile enthusiasts. It is their gentle, well-tempered disposition and small size, as well as their ability to thrive in captivity that has made them a favorite of many keepers. With a size rarely exceeding 40 inches and a strong feeding response, they are the perfect boa for beginners. With only a few important guidelines they can be easily maintained and enjoyed for many years. Longevity in this species may exceed 25 years.
Your First Rosy :
The most important rule with keeping rosy boas is that of using common sense. Though they may be easily kept, a couple very important guidelines must be met. These guidelines are based in knowledge of their habitat and habits. They are found in the hottest and driest deserts of the United States and Mexico, so they must be kept warm, dry and well ventilated. However, they live amongst rocks and boulders and are nocturnal through the warm months so as to avoid the desiccating desert heat, so moderation in air temperature is a must, and a hide box or substrate that is easily burrowed into is recommended. They are often found near intermittent water, or near desert springs, so fresh water should also be offered, but once again, the enclosure should stay dry. We’ll shortly get into the specifics, but it is important to understand that this document is based on the reader using common sense in making decisions dealing with rosy boas, and that the more information you have regarding their existence in the wild, the more success you will have with them in captivity.
Care should be taken in the selection of your first rosy boa. Of course the first consideration is to know your local and state laws. Many states have laws regarding the keeping of reptiles. A call to the Dept. of Fish and Game will often be your quickest method of
information regarding state law. Secondly, the source of your boa is very important. Wild caught individuals are often scarred and full of parasites, and are not a good choice for captive stock. Pet store animals are often unhealthy and also are not a good choice. A breeder is the best choice when it comes to acquiring a rosy. Most breeders will verify the boa is eating and well before offering them, are happy to answer questions regarding their animals. Captive-bred individuals are generally easier to keep, and generally are not exposed to the parasites that most wild caught reptiles host. After you have found a respectable breeder, your choice of boa is just that, your choice. The high contrast pattern and ease of care of the Mexican subspecies has made them the first choice of many pet owners, where the bright oranges and pinks of the Mid-Baja individuals, or the burnt orange/brown of the Arizonan animals, or the soft rose and cream colors of the Californian deserts are often sought after by enthusiasts and breeders. Regardless of the subspecies, or locality, your boa will be a great addition to your home or collection.
Img C.1 Coastal Rosy Boa - L. t. roseofusca
• At just a few hours old this captive bred rosy boa is enjoying the warmth of a caring hand.
A healthy rosy boa has smooth, vibrant skin/scales and a thick robust body. The tail should not be sunken in, nor should the vertebrae show. The ocular scale should be clear, and the eyes should be alert. The mouth/labials should be clear of debris and the snake should have a strong feeding response. When the snake sheds it should shed in one piece, and not flake off a little at a time. Ask the breeder if you notice anything out of the ordinary, and they’ll often be of help in identifying potential health problems and how to avoid/fix them.
Once your healthy boa has been chosen, the enclosure should be ready to receive your little jewel. The enclosure should be large enough to allow the rosy to move around comfortably, but not so large that your boa is lost amongst the substrate. Whether it is glass, plastic or wood, it must have an escape proof lid, and be well ventilated. Steer clear of heat lamps and use under tank heaters, or heat tape. Care should be taken to make sure that the heat source is not so hot as to be a hazard to the snake, nor a fire hazard. A thermal gradient should be provided with the warm side ranging in the low 90’s and a cool side around 75-80°F. A hide box may be provided and is often a good idea, especially for animals that are having difficulty acclimating to captivity. Fresh water should be provided in a tip-proof container, and on the cooler side of the enclosure, as to keep the humidity down. Many keepers will actually remove the animal from the enclosure and allow it to drink rather than provide constant water, or put water in for a couple days at a time once or twice a month. A branch for climbing may also be added as these boas are adept climbers and will make use of it. Here is an example of a simple enclosure:
Choice of substrate depends on the keeper. Sand is often attractive and helps in keeping the humidity low, but is heavy and difficult to change. Wood shavings are commonly used but need to be changed often and are less pleasing to look at in a display setting. The substrate question is one of preference and should be kept clean and simple. The underlying theme in the enclosure is simplicity. Intricate displays are often more difficult to care for, while simple enclosures provide a more accessible and often more healthy environment.
Feeding your snake is a rewarding experience, as it provides a glimpse into the lives of these gentle boas. They are aggressive feeders, with healthy animals rarely turning down a meal. Obesity is more often a problem than lack of appetite. Rosy boas have small heads, but can swallow prey items much larger than their head. A meal should be just large enough to make a small bulge in the snake after it has fed. Young boas will take newborn (pinkie) mice and older, larger snake will take adult mice, and/or small rats. Smaller meals offered more often is generally considered to be the best method of feeding. Though their prey may vary in the wild, lab mice is the best choice for captive boas, as they are the right size, easily attainable and generally disease free. Rosy boas should be fed every 5-10 days depending on the size of the meals. The best method for feeding your boa is to feed pre-killed lab mice by offering them at the end of rubber-coated tongs. Rosy boas will often strike after pressing their noses into the mouse, then tightly making one or two coils around the prey.
If your boa does not feed or is regurgitating meals, it is often a sign that something in the enclosure is not right. The temperature may be to high or low, or it may be too humid.
parasites may be the problem. Check that the temperature and humidity are correct and provide a hide box. Discontinue handling and offer small food items after a few days and usually the snake will resume feeding. It should be noted at this point that rosy boas kept as pets will often be fed differently than those kept for breeding. If your rosy begins to go off food in the fall or if you plan to breed your rosys, review the information in the propagation section. It is common for captive boas to go off food in preparation for brumation in the fall. This is natural and should be considered an exciting part of keeping these beautiful desert creatures. If provided with the proper conditions and a little attention, these boas are indeed the perfect choice for many beginners and a welcome addition to any collection. Once again, exercising common sense is the most important aspect of keeping these and all other reptiles.
Img C.2 Mexican Rosy Boa - L. t. trivirgata
• Common lab mice are readily accepted by all rosy boas.
Videos on care , feeding & breeding :
Rosy Boa Care
Rosy Boas as Pets
Rosy Boa Care and Keeping
Rosy boa care video
Rosy Boa giving birth
Whitewater Rosy Boa Breeding
My pair of rosy boas feeding
Gravid rosy boa
Feeding My Rosy Boa: Randal
Further reading :
by Gerold Merker Randy Limburg Bob Montoya (Author)
by R.D. Bartlett (Author)
by Jerry Walls (Author), J. Walls (Author)
Many books you can find in the Internet based libraries and bookshops like Amazon.com ( Click Here ) ..
But first look for the best prices at Book Finder.com