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Breeding the Rosy Boa

Rosy Boa EatingSpring is in the air in the Northern Hemisphere, and snake keepers are busy preparing for another breeding season.  Species that range into temperate regions are especially likely to be stimulated to reproduce as the seasons change.  For those interested in boas, I highly recommend working with North America’s beautiful Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata).  Small, hardy and live-bearing, this gem among constrictors is a great choice for both first- time and advanced breeders.

A Beautifully Patterned Northern Boa

Three subspecies of Rosy Boa occupy a relatively limited range – Southern California, Southwestern Arizona, Baja California and Sonora, Mexico.  Their colors are quite varied, and a number of captive bred color strains are also available.

I’ve been lucky enough to come across them several times in my travels.  Two spectacularly colored individuals stand out in my memory – an almond-striped, creamy specimen that emerged as darkness fell on the desert in Baja, Mexico and a pink and orange clad individual in Southern California.


Maxing out at 40 inches in length, these stout constrictors are more easily accommodated than most related species.  Temperatures of 78-85F, with a warmer basking spot and, if possible, a nighttime dip to 70-72F, suit them well.

Breeding is most likely if the pair is maintained at 52-54 F for 6-8 weeks, but normal changes in home temperatures may be enough to stimulate reproduction in some cases.  Animals selected for breeding should be at least 24 inches in length and 2 years of age.

Rosy BoaCopulation generally occurs from March to August, with birth following 100-140 days later.  The youngsters, usually 3-6 in number, are stoutly built and usually vigorous.  At an average size of 10-14 inches, they are large enough to take pink mice as soon as their first shed is completed.

The USA is home to another boa, the cold tolerant Rubber Boa, Charina bottae.  

Further Reading

A USGS study of the Rosy Boa in California is posted here.

This Video shows a nice litter of Rosy Boas.

Rosy Boa Eating image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Cole Shatto
Rosy Boa image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Shane O Pinnell


  1. avatar

    Hello Frank,
    Was curious about the elevation range of rosys. While on vacation recently I found a 16″ all grey (no stripes) rosy at Mono Village/Twin Lakes near Bridgeport, Ca. at the 7500 ft elevation. I almost stepped on it while fishing at the upper lake. Is this unusuall to find a rosy at such a high elevation? Thanks for your time. Ray

  2. avatar

    That is probably a rubber boa that you found. There are a bunch up there and they look a lot like rosy’s only they are a solid color.

    • avatar


      Thanks for your input. I’d like to find rubber boas in the wild, have only worked with them in captivity, during my years at the Bronx Zoo. The animals I referred to in the article, however, were Rosy Boas. Best, Frank

About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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