Dumeril's vs. Hogg Island vs. Spotted Python: Help!

Discussion in 'Boas' started by Mahama22, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. Mahama22

    Mahama22 New Member

    I've gone back and forth more times than I can count on my first snake purchase. I'm shopping for: good temperament (something I can handle daily), manageable size (5 foot maximum and nothing that could choke out a toddler), and relative ease of care. This has led me to three snakes: a Spotted python, a Dumeril's boa, and a Hogg Island boa. From what I've found, Spotted pythons have good tempers, stay small, and are easy to care for, but lack the beautiful colorations and patterns the boas can have. The Dumeril's have the temper, ease of care, and beautiful patterns, but can be upwards of six feet and heavy bodied snakes. And lastly, the Hogg Island boas have the intermediate size (if I can find a male), the coloration and ease of care, but can be more prone to aggressive tempers than the other two. Can anyone lend a metaphorical machete to this thicket to help me decide which snake is best for me?
  2. Cammy

    Cammy Administrator Staff Member

    Unfortunately I am not a snake expert and can't lend advice on those particular species, but may I ask if ball pythons are off the table completely? They are very docile, low maintenence, hardy, stay in your size range, and there are literally hundreds of color and pattern morphs to choose from. If you haven't ruled them out completely I'd really encourage you to look into them a little. If not, a more snake savvy member should be along to help you out. Either way, welcome to the boards and also to the addictive hobby of reptile keeping!
  3. geckolover22

    geckolover22 Well-Known Member

    Hello welcome to the boards! I agree with cammy to look into a ball python they match what you're looking almost perfectly.. As for temperament of any snake just if the species is labeled one thing doesn't necissarily mean every individual snake will have a temper or be docile. And usually with handling and spot on husbandry avoiding stress any snake could in theory tame down.
    I haven't owned a spotted python or dumerils.. but I have a hog island. He's the sweetest boa I have and his colors are amazing. :)
  4. Mahama22

    Mahama22 New Member

    Thanks guys. Given how unreliable judgments based on disposition could be, it really looks like the big deciding factor is going to be size. I definitely haven't ruled out Ball pythons. There the honest fallback if I can't decide on either of these three since they do match everything so well. How large is your male Hogg Island?

    JEFFREH Administrator Staff Member

    Be aware that there are also locality crosses of Boa constrictor imperator (Bci). The Hog Island [not Hogg ;) ] is a locality of the Bci subspecies. They are commonly mixed with the Colombian locality which tend to get a little larger than most pure Hogs. Either way, males of most Bci stay within a manageable size. A 5 or 6 foot snake can sound intimidating, but once you've handled them and have an opportunity to work with them that size doesn't seem quite so large.

    I have a male hypo Hog island boa and he is a total sweetheart. He's capped out just a little over 4ft in length, and feeds on small rats. Very predictable snake... juveniles can be a little flightly or potentially nippy but if you work with them and provide proper husbandry they tame down very nicely. Most often calm down naturally with age; which is true of many snakes. Something to consider is most snakes given the label of "tame" or "never handle" should be taken with a grain of salt. Every snake, even within a species, is an individual with its own personality. There are trends within species that hold true, but if you provide proper care and work with a snake enough so that it feels comfortable with you, many species can be manageable pets that are easy to handle. Ball pythons would be considered a very docile, calm snake that is not prone to biting; but there are individuals that will strike readily. Blood pythons, a species that is notorious for having an attitude can be some of the calmest, most relaxed snakes in the world if you are patient with them.

    What species do you feel is top of your personal want list? If there is a particular species you are most fond of, but fear its temperament or some single factor might be a problem, you should probably just go for it. All of the species you've listed can be great pets and become 'tame', and this animal will be in your life for a long time.
    ReptileRhett likes this.
  6. Mahama22

    Mahama22 New Member

    Thanks, Jeff. I'm really happy I've found such a great resource in you guys. Taking what you've mentioned into mind, this shuffles things around a bit. Spotted's are still on the list, as are Dumeril's. But this also brings back Irian Jaya carpet pythons, a species that I originally ruled out after speaking personally to a local breeder. Luckily, it seems those three species are relatively available, so I do have some time to work through all of these considerations. Any useful information on the IJ's though? I feel like my advice to this point might be slightly one-sided. And thanks for the spelling correction!

    JEFFREH Administrator Staff Member

    We're happy to help whenever we can = )

    I've not actually kept any Morelia species, so I cannot speak from experience with IJ's or other carpet pythons. However, here is a nice bit of a literature from a very well-known and respected breeder in the hobby. Anthony Caponetto specializes in crested geckos and carpet pythons; here is a snippet of what he has to say regarding temperament myths with these species... follow the link for full text and more info:

    -"Myth 1 - Carpet pythons are typically aggressive.
    Whenever I see someone selling a nippy yearling (or older) carpet python and they play off the snake’s bad temperament by saying that it has a “typical carpet python attitude,” it makes me wonder how many carpet pythons they’ve really worked with.

    In fact, most carpets are just as laid back as a ball python. However, carpets aren't ball pythons, so they aren't wired to curl up in a ball when they get nervous...they will typically try to flee, but the occasional specimen will attempt to bite.

    Hatchlings are typically pretty mellow, but some can be nippy. Luckily, they're so tiny that their bites are harmless. At a year or two of age, even the most aggressive babies will usually calm down and become trustworthy snakes. Some hatchlings may be docile after the first couple of days that you handle them, while others may take as long as a couple years to fully calm down. Nippy hatchlings and juveniles don't necessarily have to be handled in order to eventually calm down. Day to day maintenance and a growing snake's increased confidence usually are enough.
    With larger carpet pythons, I'd say that 99% of all bites are the result of a feeding error....either on part of the snake or the keeper. We have to remember, these snakes "see" heat perhaps better than they can actually see the difference in shap between a rat and a human hand. To avoid being mistaken for food, get a snake hook. You don't need to pin the snake down or anything like that...that's not why we use snake hooks. We use them to simply tap the snake on the nose or neck, in order to let them know that they're not getting fed. If you are concerned about having a docile snake, ask the breeder/dealer if the snake is nippy before you buy it. Of course, it helps if you trust them. If they tell you that it is nippy, keep looking because you will eventually find a docile one if you look hard enough.

    From Anthony Caponetto's site: http://acreptiles.com

    I should also add (I assume this is your first snake) that many snakes are quite easy to keep once you have the initial setup down. There are certainly exceptions, but I wouldn't base your decision purely on subjective "Beginner vs. Intermediate" skill level designations when choosing your snake. You being here, researching ahead of time and asking questionsare important steps that most novice keepers fail to do.

    Snakes are the lazy man's pet - typically, you feed them about once a week, they use the bathroom about once a week, and they need fresh water. That's about 95% of the workload on caring for these guys once you have the setup down. I'd highly recommend a good thermostat so that temperatures can be maintained automatically and with accurate consistency. Humidity needs for many of the species you've listed are often met simply by providing a proper enclosure and water dish.
  8. Mahama22

    Mahama22 New Member

    Well, it looks like the final victor is a dark-horse candidate, a male or female Tarahumara dwarf boa. I believe I've found a trustworthy breeder with a good litter and a decent asking price. Thanks for everything, guys!

    JEFFREH Administrator Staff Member

    Good to hear! We're happy to help! Sounds like a very nice locality of Bci for you to keep.

    You should post photos when you obtain your snake and stick around - We'd love to hear updates!
  10. Mahama22

    Mahama22 New Member

    Hey guys! Sorry for the hiatus, but I'm here with the promised update and pictures! After all that back and forth, I found a dumeril's that I couldn't say no to. Meet Tango! image.jpg
    Cammy and JEFFREH like this.

    JEFFREH Administrator Staff Member

    Tango is gorgeous!! Love those orange highlights... very nice!

    I've always been particularly fond of the head structure in Dums... you should take some side profile shots when you get a chance ; )
  12. Gorgeous. Keep updates
  13. Mahama22

    Mahama22 New Member

    Hey guys! Tango is doing well, eating like a champ and just finished a shed. I've got a few more images for you guys. I figured a complete shed was a good excuse to break out the real camera! DSC_2509.jpg DSC_2549.jpg DSC_2613.jpg
    Cammy and JEFFREH like this.

    JEFFREH Administrator Staff Member

    Nice head shots! This is making me want a Dumeril's more and more!

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