argentine crosses

Discussion in 'Boas' started by geckolover22, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. geckolover22

    geckolover22 Well-Known Member

    Sooo I'm trading my current pair of boas forr possibly one or two Argentine cross boas approx. 4 months old... now I'm not really interested in breeding boas anytime soon.. maybe later on and with pure boa species no mixes.. so these would be pet only could they make a good pet? Heard Argentines are notorious for aggression and size? What I was told they are mixed with redtail so they should get a bit smaller correct? I would like to start smaller to to achieve a more handleable boa

    JEFFREH Administrator Staff Member

    Argentine boas (B. c. occidentalis) are a beautiful and very impressive subspecies... you are absolutely correct about their size. The agression is typical of most snakes and I think a lot of it comes down to the experience of the keeper or breeder that is providing the information. Many keepers still suggest that some species of snake, like Red Blood Python (P. brongersmai) and Carpet Pythons (Morelia sp.) are also very aggressive but you'll find that many serious breeders and keepers who have spent a lot of time with this species claim otherwise. A lot of it is bluffing and having the guts to call out their bluff (especially in flightly juveniles). More and more keepers are starting to realize this trend - it is now less common for sellers to say things like "typical blood python agression" because with work and captive breeding efforts this species has the capacity to be one of the most docile species in any collection...even more so than ball pythons in some situations. Having experience in raising and handling snakes is important when you are planning on working with a species that has been given an "aggressive" hype. Be persistent, patient, and calm when working with the animal and work with them regularly...with time I think you will find a very docile snake in your Boa constrictor.

    If you want smaller and more handleable out the gate, then the Argentine cross probably isn't the best bet...especially if crossed with a "true" Red-Tail Boa (Boa constrictor constrictor). You will still see fairly large sizes in this cross and possibly some more sensitivity to the husbandry demands than a pure B. c. imperator. In all honesty, if you want a boa to breed down the road that stays a little smaller now and can be more readily handled, consider a pure Colombian BCI. These are among the most common boas offered in the pet trade and come in the widest variety of morphs (hypos, albinos, motleys, jungles, you name it). They stay a more modest size...smaller than most BCC and B. c. occidentalis but larger than some other BCI and island localities. The Colombian locality of BCI is also a bit more passive than some other subspecies and localities in my experience probably due to their background as being one of the most commonly bred species in captivity.

    I do want to stress the importance with Argentine boas especially of breeding pure bloodlines and the importance of documenting any cross and selling animals as truly represented. According to Gus Rentfro, the wild population of B.c. occidentalis is severely declinging and there are some captive efforts to reintroduce species raised in captivity to their natural habitat. Because of this, it is vitally important to properly represent animals being sold and any crosses that are made. Be sure you have all of the heritage tracked back as far as possible on these animals before you make your trade/purchase and keep this information very public and well documented (especially if you do ever breed them, make it very obvious that the offspring are not pure).

    That being said, the Argentine crosses can make fine pets if that is all you wish for. They are young, so expect some bluffing, hissing, and possibly even the occasional strike. Take advantage of this while they are young to prove that it won't work and allow the snake to feel comfortable with you... maybe feed in a separate enclosure or hook train the snake. You may not run into any problems whatsoever...many snakes are individuals and don't always follow the general steriotypical trends in behavior. But if for some reason you wind up with very fussy snakes (ask the breeder how their temperment is) then just know that it can be remedied with time, age, and regular positive interaction.
    geckolover22 likes this.
  3. geckolover22

    geckolover22 Well-Known Member

    Thank you Jeff :3 how many years would it take them to be fully grown? I don't mind having a bigger species starting from babies I can gradually get accustomed to larger as they grow of course which is my logic may or may not be accurate so correct me if there's a flaw please... the breeder says they are done handled 4 times a week so pretty well started

    JEFFREH Administrator Staff Member

    Boas grow pretty quickly - but a lot of the time they grow too quickly by power feeding and overfeeding. It's good that they are being handled and I think that you will be great with them as long as you keep it up and maintain positive interactions. I think you'll be okay, just prepared in the next year to look out for adult sized enclosures as the snake starts to grow larger.

    Boas reach their largest sizes in captivity if fed a little more sparingly than say, a ball python. Ball pythons as you know can be picky feeders, but they also KNOW when they are full and when they are hungry. We don't as often see issues with fatty liver disease and obesity in ball pythons because they restrict themselves and feeding on routine schedules doesn't seem to be a problem for them. Boas are different. Boas are garbage disposals in most cases and readily take food at almost any time. If fed every 5-7 days even into adulthood like Ball Pythons, you will end up with an obese snake that cannot reach its maximum size potential in length and runs a plethora of health risks.

    Breeders power feed to allow snakes to breed sooner...and most don't realize they are even power feeding because they liken the metabolism to that of a colubrid or some other species of snake. As juveniles, boas can be fed weekly with appropriate sized prey items no problem, but as they get older it is important to wean them into lighter feeding schedules. I would feed a prey item barely large enough enough to leave a slight lump once every 2 (in some cases 3) weeks for a subadult or adult boa rather than a good sized prey item weekly. You'll find that feeding on a schedule like this will not allow a snake to reach maturity as quickly...but given another couple of years the snake will reach the desired weights and put on greater added length than their powerfed counterparts. Its speculated that providing an ideal, "summer" type of conditions at all times where temps are perfect and food is always accesible can mess with growth hormones in the snake...possibly explaining why so many boas in nature are often larger (sometimes significantly so) than those in captivity. I don't remember all of the details, but I remember Rentfro discussing this once before... Furthermore, boas raised on a leaner diet tend to produce larger and more viable litters in the long-term than powerfed counterparts.

    So anyway, the amount of years it will take to become full grown depends strongly on your husbandry conditions, feeding frequency, and genetics of the snake. I'd say a good average age for reaching maturity is about 4 years but it depends on the above factors and the species/locality of boa.
    geckolover22 likes this.
  5. geckolover22

    geckolover22 Well-Known Member

    So this is the little guy I'm hoping to get probably not BCC... BCI? 5G75Kd5M63F73J43Hfc9ea66f9326ea94178e-1-1.jpg

    JEFFREH Administrator Staff Member

    Hard to say with that Argentine blood in him - but he is a beautiful boa. Does the breeder not know what the cross was made with? I wouldn't feel comfortable guessing what the missing puzzle piece is, I'd rather the breeder tell me what the parents were ; )
  7. geckolover22

    geckolover22 Well-Known Member

    If I'm correct he said the mother was his Argentine boa and the father was borrowed from a friend said it was a red tail... but I know how mixed up some people get BCC and BCI it seems

    JEFFREH Administrator Staff Member

    They definitely do get mixed up frequently, which is concerning for those who wish to keep localities and subspecies "pure." While it isn't often technically hybridization by taxonimic standards (locality x locality as least) there are still differences in appearence and behavior between the different boa flavors...I know you are familiar with this though = )

    If he has a picture of the father or can ask the friend what the male specifically was, is may be useful for you to document. Just in case you do ever re-home this animal or want to breed down the road. I'm sure the breeder will have no problem shooting the loaner an email or providing a few pics for your sake if you ask nicely.
  9. geckolover22

    geckolover22 Well-Known Member

    I'll probably ask him this weekend if I can pick up the baby possibly to get more info on the lil guy
  10. geckolover22

    geckolover22 Well-Known Member

    Okay so I have been researching extensively on the care of these boas looking at how care differs between BCC BCI BCOs as I see they are all basically the same correct? ... I found some variation in temps between a couple sites one saying 78-93 and the other low to mid 80s..which one is a better temp span/gradient?....... and humidity around 60-75%? I want everything perfect for this lil boa so help much appreciated thank you :)

    JEFFREH Administrator Staff Member

    Humidity is one of those things that is of high importance, but shouldn't be taken too literally. Boa constrictors live primarily in the neotropics of central and South America where ambient humidity is almost always very high and temperatures are also fairly high (but don't deviate to extreme's with seasonal change like we see further north of the equator). Some keepers see these higher than average humidity needs and feel a need to place an unusually large water bowl in the vivarium or keep things too moist with sprayings and water retentive substrate... these methods often do more harm than good in that they allow for bacterial and fungal manisfestation. You want the ambient humidity to be the in these ranges, but you don't want the cage dripping wet. Usually providing an enclosed cage with a water dish is adequate to provide the proper humidty range.

    Humidity should generally exceed 60%... which is very easy to accomodate often with only a water dish in an appropriate bin or enclosure. You may notice that the dry times of winter in some areas can pose problems for some keepers. Low humidity often associated with colder weather can result in dried secretions that narrow the air passages, resulting in periodic forced exhalations and occasionally casting within the nares (these go away with a new shed). In addition, dry conditions inhibit appropriate shedding and can effect a variety of other factors that contribute to a boa's well-being. On the other end of the spectrum, very high humidity and overly moist conditions can increase chances of respiratory infections and increase bacteria in the enclosure (which can contribute to scale rot, for example). In all honestly, if you keep the humidity similar to that of how you raise ball pythons, you will be OK.

    To explain temperatures, I'm going to turn you over to Rio Bravo Reptiles... Gus has a fantastic care sheet on his site that I will link to below. His desciption of temperatures and cyclings is precisely what I follow:

    Good Temperature Guides for growing boas:
    "Summer" March thru September.
    12 to 13 hours of Daylight, the remainder dark.
    Daytime high temperatures around 90 deg (f).
    Nighttime lows 75-80 deg (f).

    "Winter" October thru February.
    10 hours of Daytime.
    High temps 85 deg (f)
    Nighttime lows to about 74 deg (f).

    The best way to achieve this is to place your lights on a timer and adjust the light period accordingly. Temperature is easily manipulated by keeping the room at a comfortable temp for you (70-84deg, corresponding to the period) and then place a heat strip under one end of the cage adjusted to a few degrees higher than the daytime high or nighttime low you are aiming for. The strip should not be much bigger than the space the young snake occupies in the cage. An example for a daytime Summer set-up would be an 80-84deg room with a heat-strip adjusted to 95. This allows for the animal to seek an optimum temperature, rather than you deciding what is best. Professional thermostatically controlled heating works very well. Be advised that body temps below about 64deg (f) and above about 95deg (f) are potentially harmful to many boas, including red-tails. Temperature manipulation for breeding is further discussed in the Breeding section of this site.

    Heat lamps, spot lamps and infrared emitters are not recommended. Boas thermoregulate in subtle ways by raising and lowering the mass of their bodies on a heated surface; this is largely denied to them by using radiant heat. In addition lamps and other similar devices drive moisture from the cage and it’s contents, making humidity control much more difficult. Humidity is a factor in proper care of Boa c. ssp.. 60% or more (non-condensing) is normally recommended. Humidity also plays a role in seasonality. In the northern hemisphere we experience a drop in humidity in Winter, especially indoors, this apparently is not objectionable. Misting or raining on Boa may or may not be needed or useful in cycling boas. Its function is most likely to improve or prolong the chemical traces (pheromones) that key males to the breeding condition of mature females. We do not employ this here but rarely experience extremely low humidity levels."
    - Quotation from Gus Rentfro at Rio Bravo Reptiles.

    Here is the link to the sheet that the above quotation came from, it is a fantastic guide with additional info you may find useful:

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