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Rosy Boa Care: Diet, Habitat, Handling

rosy boa care

Even though Ball Pythons are undoubtedly the most popular pet snake, Rosy Boas have become increasingly popular.

These undemanding snakes are an excellent option for novices, but even experienced owners can enjoy their unobtrusive presence, lovely temperament, and numerous available morphs.

This article aims to show you the advantages and downsides of keeping a friendly and docile Rosy Boa as a pet with low husbandry requirements.

Rosy Boa Facts

Scientific name1 Lichanura trivirgata 2 Lichanura orcutti
Common name1 Desert Rosy Boa 2 Coastal Rosy Boa (Northern Three-lined Boa)
Adult sizeDesert Boa females – 17 to 36 inches (43 – 91.50 cm) Coastal Rosy Boa – 24 to 44 inches (61 – 112 cm) Males are slightly shorter than females
Adult weight0.22 to 0.88 pounds (100 – 400 g)
Lifespan25 to 30 years
Natural habitatArid scrublands, rocky crevices, canyons, and desert regions
Enclosure sizeA tank of 10 to 15 gallons (38 – 57 l) for juveniles A tank of 20 to 120 gallons (76 – 454 l) for adults
Daytime  temperatureCool zone 72 to 80 F (22 – 27 C) Basking spot 85 to 95 F (29.50 – 35 C)
Night-time temperature68 to 72 F (20 – 22 C) with a min of 60 F (15.50 C)
Humidity20 to 40%, with a max of 60% during a shedding period
DietCarnivorous that can consume the rat, gerbil, hamster, and quail youngs, amphibians, small lizards, chicks, quail eggs, and Reptilinks
Experience levelBeginners

Where do Rosy Boas live?

The Desert Rosy Boa is native to the American Southwest and the Republic of Sonora, Mexico. On the other hand, you can find the Coastal Rosy Boa species on the US – Mexico border.

Both species are endemic, and their habitat includes arid scrublands, rocky crevices, desert regions, and canyons.

Rosy Boa appearance, colors, and morphs

Rosy Boas’ appearance significantly varies, and the combination of color and pattern always depends on the snake’s habitat. You can quickly conclude where the snake you look at came from based on the color of its skin and specific pattern.

Coastal Rosy Boas – These snakes come with a typical three orange, tan, reddish-brown, or brick-red stripes along the body. They alternate with white, blue-grey, or yellow interspaces.

Desert Rosy Boas – You can recognize these snakes thanks to three longitudinal stripes and a rosy or salmon-colored lower body side.

Females are slightly more sizable than males, but their anal spurs are less developed.

Rosy Boas are increasingly popular pets in the US and worldwide because of their attractive colors, besides other positive traits.

Despite numerous variations present in the wild, breeders give their best to develop new and unique morphs.

The most popular captive genetic morphs are:

  • Albino Borrego Rosy Boa
  • Snowwhite Snow Rosy Boa
  • Anerythristic Rosy Boa
  • Hypo Borrego Rosy Boa
  • Smith Snow Rosy Boa

White and gray-blue snake variations with powder-blue eyes are currently the most sought-after among owners.

This video shows quite a lot of rosy boa morphs (we think that the handling is a little rough though)

How big do Rosy Boas get?

As mentioned, you can choose one of two Rosy Boa variations. Smaller Desert Boas typically grow up to 17 to 36 inches (43 – 91.50 cm), while Coastal Rosy Boas are a bit longer.

Their average length is 24 to 44 inches (61 – 112 cm). Males are always slightly shorter than females, regardless of the type, but both weigh about 1 to 3 pounds (0.45 – 1.36 kg) on average.

AgeFemale length and weight
Juveniles10 to 12 inches (25.50 – 30.50 cm) 0.02 pounds (10 g)
Adults17 to 44 inches (43 – 112 cm) 1 to 3 pounds (0.45 – 1.36 kg)

Rosy Boas are really tiny when they are born. Hatchlings’ standard length is 10 to 12 inches (25.50 – 30.50 cm), and they weigh only 0.02 pounds (10 g).

Rosy Boa lifespan

Rosy Boas are long-lived reptiles with an average lifespan of two to three decades. Still, these snakes can live even longer when provided living conditions are excellent, and they get the proper care.

It is pretty common to expect your pet to live 20 or 35 years, but even that is not the limit. One Rosy Boa reached a surprising record after living over 60 years.

How to Care for Rosy Boas?

Rosy Boas are undemanding snakes satisfied with small spaces, some food, and moderate attention. It is on you to provide comfort for your pet, ensuring its long and healthy life.

Rosy Boa tank setup

Most experts and owners recommend a tank of 10 to 15 gallons (38 – 57 l) for juvenile Rosy Boas. On the other hand, adults often feel comfortable in terrariums of 20 to 30 gallons.

Rosy Boa sizeIdeal tank dimensions (H by L by W)Tank size
24 inches (61 cm)12 by 24 by 12 inches (30.50 x 61 x 30.50 cm)10 to 15 gallons (38 – 57 l)
24 to 36 inches (61 – 91.50 cm)12 by 36 by 12 inches (30.50 x 91.50 x 30.50 cm)20 to 30 gallons (76 – 113.50 l)
36 inches (91.50 cm)18 by 36 by 18 inches (46 x 91.50 x 46 cm)Front-opening terrarium of 50 gallons (190 l)
44 inches (112 cm)24 x 48 x 24 inches (61 x 122 x 61 cm)120 gallons (454 l)

Despite that, the formula that determines a minimum space for a snake, depending on its length, is clear. You should provide a terrarium long as your pet, while its height and width should equal half snake length.

In other words, your Desert Boa, with an average length of 17 to 36 inches (43 – 91.50 cm), requires a 50-gallon tank.

Since Coastal Rosy Boa females often reach 24 to 44 inches (61 – 112 cm), they will feel super comfortable in a terrarium of up to 120 gallons (454 l).

Lighting and temperature

Rosy boas change activity level during 24 hours, depending on the season.

For instance, they are primarily nocturnal animals during the summer but become diurnal in the spring and autumn when the temperatures are moderate.

They brumate during winter. Therefore, you should provide adequate lighting for each period of the year but avoid being too intense.

Be aware that brumation is not strictly necessary in captivity, and you can prevent it by temperature and light regulation.

The temperature level is one of the crucial issues when organizing the terrarium for your Rosy Boa. These snakes are highly sensitive to significant temperature deviations and cold environments.

The best to do is to install a thermostat, providing a tank inside temperature within established limits. You can expect your snake to enjoy the daytime temperature of 72 to 80 F (22 – 27 C) in the cool zone and 85 to 95 F (29.50 – 35 C) in the basking spot.

The average night-time temperature is from 68 to 72 F (20 – 22 C), and you should always keep it from dropping below 60 F (15.50 C).

Remember to provide higher temperatures during shedding and raising hatchlings and keep it low during the brumation period.

If you notice your Rosy Boa is disturbed and restlessly moves, it is a sign that the temperature inside the tank is too high. Solve the problem by cooling the space.

Do Rosy Boas need UVB?

rosy boa tank setup

Rosy Boas can survive without UVB lighting, but most owners prefer adding it to their pets’ terrariums. It provides a regular day/night cycle that positively affects snakes’ health, including:

  • Improving the immune system
  • Facilitating digestion
  • Providing enough vitamin D

You can get the best result when putting the lamp 10 to 13 inches (25.40 – 33 cm) above the basking surface next to the heat lamp.

Keep the light on about 10 hours daily in winter and at least 14 hours a day during the summer. Take care to replace the bulb once or twice a year, depending on the model.


Rosy Boas are oversensitive to high humidity, so keep it between 20 and 40%. However, increasing this level to 60% during the shedding period is necessary to make it easier for your snake to change its skin.

Remember that a humidity level of over 50% during a prolonged period can lead to respiratory infections. Balance it by vent regulating and keeping the room temperature at a required level.


Most owners buy tanks with a solid base or a false bottom, allowing urine and feces through. When made of glass, it is vital to add substrate making the enclosure more comfortable and dry.

The recommended substrate options include paper towels with an additional layer of absorbent materials approximately 3 to 4 inches (7.62 – 10.16 cm) thick. You should choose materials like:

Avoid adding aromatic woods like cedar and pine in the tank as a substrate to prevent your Rosy Boa’s eye and lung irritation.

Other good options include:

Placing an insulating layer, such as a reptile carpet and felt, under the heating area is practical. Unfortunately, such a rough surface can irritate your tender pet.

Check the substrate daily, clean it regularly, and completely change it once in two to three months, depending on the tank size. Otherwise, build-up bacteria can jeopardize your snake’s health.

Rosy Boa tank decor

rosy boa tank decor

Tank decor is vital for Rosy Boas since various accessories encourage them to move, exercise, and find a place to hide. The best options are:

  • Artificial caves, ledges, burrows, and hideouts
  • Sturdy branches
  • Cork flats, tubes, and logs
  • Pieces made of cholla and ghost wood
  • Artificial and drought-tolerant live plants
  • Paver stones and rocks

It is vital to provide enough hiding places in both warm and cool tank ends and enough branches to allow your pet to climb and rub on when shedding.

How to clean a Rosy Boa tank

Besides proper diet, regular tank cleaning is crucial to keep your Rosy Boa healthy. Ideally, you should wash the water bowl, spot-clean the tank, and remove feces daily.

Remove approximately 1 inch (2.54 cm) of the top bedding weekly and replace it with a layer of fresh substrate. The enclosure requires deep cleaning at least once a month.

Monthly cleaning includes spraying the tank interior with a 10% bleach solution after removing all accessories.

Then, wash all pieces in soapy water and thoroughly rinse and dry them before returning them to the tank. You can replace the substrate or do it every other time if it is not dirty.

Rosy Boa diet

Rosy Boas are humble snakes that never require an excessively varied and abundant diet. Depending on their age, they are happy with a moderate meal once a week or so and periodically need a period without food.

What to feed

Rosy boas enjoy eating mice, making this readily available food an excellent choice regardless of the snake’s age. Take care to provide rodents of appropriate size or some other prey options, including:

  • Young rats, gerbils, hamsters, and quails
  • Rabbit pinkies
  • African soft-furred rat babies
  • Lizards, like Skinks, Green Anoles, and Geckos
  • Chicks
  • Amphibians
  • Quail eggs
  • Reptilinks

How often to feed

rosy boa diet

Offering pinkie mice to your Rosy Boas hatchling is excellent, but you should switch to fuzzy mice once your snake is six months old.

It typically eats once a week, while the adult snake feeding schedule includes one medium mouse once in 10 to 14 days.

Rosy Boa ageFeeding schedule
The first six monthsA pinkie mouse once in a 5 to 7 days
6 to 18 monthsA fuzzy mouse once a week
18 months to three yearsA hopper mouse once a week
Over three yearsA medium mouse once in 10 to 14 days

How long can they go without food?

Rosy Boas are remarkable snakes that can survive 3 to 4 months without food. Be aware that your pet is sometimes not in the mood to eat and can refuse meals when preparing for brumation.

Do Rosy Boas need water?

Since Rosy Boas are desert species, they don’t need continual access to water. You can offer your snake a bowl of water once a week or even a month, but never immediately after feeding.

Otherwise, it will regurgitate ingested food. The best option is to offer water throughout the day, about 24 hours before feeding.

Vitamins and minerals

A healthy Rosy boa doesn’t need vitamin and mineral supplementation. However, you can introduce light prey dusting with a calcium and multivitamin solution in a 50%: 50% ratio from time to time.

Rosy Boa Behavior and Temperament

rosy boa behavior

Rosy Boas are calm, even-tempered snakes ideal for beginners and insecure owners. They require gentle handling and enjoy slowly roaming along your hands.

Support your pet with both hands when needed, and avoid restraining it.

You can expect this snake to try to escape from your arms when feeling uncomfortable. It can sometimes use mild defensive bites to warn you to loosen your grip and be gentler.

Once it relaxes, you can be sure it feels safe and unthreatened.

Are Rosy Boas Good Pets?

The Rosy Boa should be the most popular pet snake based on its behavior and needs. They have an appealing temperament, behave friendly, and have no complicated food and accommodation requirements.

Once you bring this reptile home, you should let it get used to the new habitat for about two weeks. Then, it is time to gradually start handling it for approximately five minutes daily until calm and relaxed.

When it accepts you, it is OK to prolonged socializing. Never pause for more than a week without contact, nor handle your snake more than once a day.

Rosy Boa Common Health Problems

Rosy Boas are hardy, undemanding snake species. There is no reason to worry as long as your pet is calm and docile, eats regularly, and has a required excretion ratio. The most common health issues it can suffer from include:

Where to buy Rosy Boas? 

where to buy rosy boas?

You can find Rosy Boas at various places providing exotic pets, like:

However, the best option is to order the snake from the most reputable breeders to be sure that the Rosy Boa you get is healthy and without hereditary anomalies. You can visit one of the stores with high scores, such as:

Rosy Boa price

Rosy Boas are increasing in popularity, but finding one is often challenging.

Even though they are not endangered species, buying wild snakes is not recommended because it can negatively affect wild populations.

Additionally, you should know basic data about your pet, like age, feeding habits, and temperament.

An average juvenile Rosy Boa costs about $25, but locality-specific snakes are always more expensive. In most cases, you should set aside approximately $75 to $100 for one bred in captivity.

Snakes with unique locality colorations can cost approximately $200, while some morphs are even more expensive. For instance, the price of albino Rosy Boas is about $300.

Pierre And The ReptileCraze Team