Among many snakes, boa constrictors are favourite pets, because they have easy care requirements, easy to handle and docile. They also feed easily and may eat defrosted rodents quite easily. However, some boa species are typically hunters and they may have problem eating and digesting defrosted rodents. In this situation, it can be rather frustrating to urge our boas to eat. If our snake refuses to eat, we should monitor its weight regularly.
1. Feed it with Moderately-Sized Rodents
Any boas can feed on rodents exclusively in captivity. However, the size of and type rodents are still dependent on the size of our boa. Neonates could prefer smaller, day old mice and adults could feed large rodents better. In any case, we should avoid adding much pressure on the boa’s digestive system by giving preys larger than their girth.
2. Feed the Boa at more regular intervals
Depending on the size and age of the boa, we should know how often our snake should eat. Neonates may need to feed each week, while adult boas typically feed fortnightly because digesting larger meals may take longer to do. Some boa species, such as the Emerald Tree Boas may need to feed every 3 weeks due to their slow metabolism.
3. Defrost Rodents Safely
Smaller rodents can be defrosted quite safely in room temperature. However, because larger rodents take more time to defrost, there’s a chance it will encourage bacterial growth. Before feeding, larger frozen rodents should be placed inside a plastic tub near a radiator or lamp for about 30 minutes. We need to make sure that the rodent is properly defrosted. Avoid using microwave, because this could cook the rodents slightly.
4. Tempt our Boas
If boas won’t take defrosted rodents, we should keep the prey inside the vivarium for a few hours. If this doesn’t seem to work, we need to tempt our boas by dangling the rodents in front of the snake. We could also wiggle the rodents with a stick to simulate slight movements. This could encourage our boas to eat, although we need to be somewhat patient.
5. Use Bait-and-Switch method
If the above method doesn’t work, we could tempt the boas with a warm, freshly killed mouse. During the actual feeding mode, we could swap the mouse with a defrosted one. Once the boa has eaten the defrosted rodent, it will likely to eat more in the future. We may need to repeat this trick for more than once, until boas are willing to eat defrosted rodents directly.
6. Offer live preys
We should offer live preys only after the above methods don’t work. We should be aware that live rodents can be rather active with sharp claws and teeth. These rodents could injure our snake and open wound could get infected. We shouldn’t leave live pray inside the vivarium unattended. If things have gone a bit out of control, we may need to remove the fighting rodents immediately.