Boomslang Snake: Comprehensive Care Guide, Size, Diet & Much More!

Boomslang Snake

The boomslang snake belongs to the colubridae family, from sub-Saharan Africa. The boomslang snake is an immensely poisonous snake with a shy nature. 

The characteristic features include large eyes, black-blue or brown or color. Naturally, they are carnivorous, diurnal and extremely venomous species. So, keeping a boomslang snake demands expert care so if you’re just a beginner it is recommended to look for snakes that are easier to care for

Even if you think you can handle the level of care they might need, you first have to know how to care for a Boomslang Snake.

Overview:

Common name:Boomslang snake 
Scientific name:Dispholidus typus
Habitat:Sub-Saharan Africa
Average lifespan:8 years
Adult size:3-6feet
Enclosure:Live in natural habitat, or large enclosure with arrangements to climb
Nutrition:Small reptiles, eggs, birds and other snakes
Level of experience:Advanced

Origin:

The boomslang snake is basically an inhabitant of Sub-Saharan Africa, mainly of the wild. Many hunters are found in trees and grasslands in search of the boomslang snake. The natural habitat of the boomslang snakes includes grasslands, and areas full of shrubs and trees as the boomslang snake is very fond of climbing the trees.

Boomslang Snake

Appearance:

The boomslang snakes have slender bodies with small, short and prominent egg-shaped heads with enormous eyes. The colubrid family generally have very large scales on their bellies. The boomslang snakes have nineteen rows of rough and very keeled scales. They also have one to ten very large scales on their head.

The boomslang snakes have fork shaped tongues, which can be used for sensing chemical smells. However, they have much better eyesight than sense of smell.

The boomslang snakes are unique as they are rear-fanged and considered as one of the “most venomous” snakes of this category.

  • Difference between male and female:

They exhibit sexual dimorphism as both sexes differ on basis of color.

The boomslang snakes can display a variety of colors ranging from green and brown. The males typically have vibrant colors deep, olive green or bright green with outlining of black color around their scales, whereas females have less colorful bodies having greenish-brown with their bellies light brown or mud color. However, young snakes require a couple of years to achieve all the colors.

Boomslang Snake as pet

Size:

The boomslang’s average length is 4.10feet. 

The size of the boomslangs snake depends on their age 

  • newly hatched snakes are about 8 inches long.
  • At the age of 2 to 3 months, they grow quickly up to 2 to 4 feet.
  •  Average Adult size is 3 to 6 feet.

There are some cases in which boomslang snakes grow over 6 feet.

Lifespan:

In the wild the average lifespan of the boomslang snake is around “8 eight years”.

However, there is little known about their longevity as in their natural environments they make very little interaction with humans. This fact makes it difficult to observe them.

With observation in captivity the boomslang snakes live approximately up to 8 years, whereas they have slightly longer life in enclosure. The longer lifespan in captivity is due to no risk of predation faced by the boomslang snake.

Temperament:

The boomslang snakes are solitary reptiles that rarely communicate with one another as well as other species. Typically, being a diurnal species they spend most of their day-time searching for their prey. Carefully gliding through the tree branches and camouflaging itself within the branches. As the boomslang snakes attack without warning so they are able to catch their prey without even being seen.

If not disturbed the boomslang snakes are non-aggressive and shy creatures that do not like any kind of interaction. However, their peaceful nature should not be mistaken as their non-defensiveness and their personal space should not be invaded. The boomslang snake is a venomous species and its venom is a hemotoxin. The boomslang’s bite victim bleeds internally as well as internally.

African boomslang
Credit: naturexplorer

These snakes prefer to live alone and do not require any cage-mates. If they see the threat in any person or any animal being very closer they become defensive and inflate their head as a sign that it is about to attack if not left alone immediately. 

It is possible for the boomslang snakes to open their mouths up to 170 degrees.

The boomslang snakes prefer to spend their lives climbing on trees rather than slithering on the ground.

Housing: 

The Boomslang snake is primarily a creature of the wild and should not be kept in  enclosure, however, if you are brave enough to pet a snake like this “always keep it locked”.

To pet any species it is an essential component to replicate its natural environment

i.e, for the boomslang snake is an environment enough to mimic Sub-Saharan Africa. Which is dry, free of much humidity with milder temperatures somewhat between  65-75°F

By nature, the boomslang snake is a reclusive creature, who likes to hide a lot so make sure to provide a lot of foliage. Also, the boomslangs are Arboreal and love to climb on the tree so enclosure should also be provided with vertical branches and trees.

Above mentioned all things should be combined to replicate the boomslang’s environment. 

Let’s get into further details and guidelines for proper care and husbandry of the boomslang snake.

Natural habitat setup for boomslang snake
Credit: MaryGroh

Size of enclosure:

The Boomslang snakes should be put in the enclosure. Average size of a vivarium or terrarium suitable for an adult boomslang is about “6½ feet tall, 5 feet wide and 5 feet long”. 

As the boomslangs are venomous, the boomslang’s enclosure should be locked always to provide no means of escape. Also there should only be a very small access door for routine maintenance and feeding.

The enclosure should also be provided with a trap-box so the snake can be easily isolated in case any major husbandry work is required.

The enclosure should not be placed in areas with a lot of movement for protection of your pet’s personal space. 

Lighting:

The Boomslang snake is typically a diurnal creature, which sleeps at night and remains active during daytime.  The lighting requirements are under debate till now, and not much is known about lighting. 

In general all snakes need a heat lamp as they cannot create their own heat. Another option for heat production is under-cage heating pads to keep the enclosure warm. Any one of these options can be used, in addition heat lamps can be used for a  basking spot, As boomslang snake is known for sunbathing. 

By using all these, you can easily  replicate the boomslang’s environment and make your pet feel at home.

However, make sure to keep the temperature of the enclosure within the recommended range.

Temperature and Humidity:

For proper care of a snake optimum temperature as well as humidity is required. 

The optimum temperature required for the enclosure of a boomslang snake is 75-85°F at daytime and at night it should be lowered to 65-70°F.

As the boomslangs are inhabitants of dry areas so there is no special requirement of humidity, however, occasionally misting should be done.

Substrate:

Since the boomslang snake is not recommended as a pet, very little is known about the correct environment to keep this as a pet. 

Substrates recommended for the boomslang snakes include newspaper, soil, bark chips/peat and other similar substrates.

The layout of the enclosure should be like a firstly placed substrate followed by branches and foliage for the snake. 

Decoration:

The Boomslang snake is very fast as well as an active snake. Being Arboreal in nature they love to climb on the trees and branches, so the enclosure of a boomslang should be provided with branches, trees as well as shrubs.

The Boomslang rarely slithering on ground as it stresses the snake.

As the boomslangs love to camouflage in trees in their natural environments. So provide your pets an environment they can enjoy and they are comfortable with. 

Cleaning of Tank:

  • The cleanliness of the tank is a vital part of your pet’s care. The cleaning of boomslang’s tank should only be done  by professionals with expert training because this snake is quite dangerous.
  • A thorough cleaning should be done at least once per month. Cleaning protocols include that you should wear rubber gloves and the snake should be removed from the tank, then start cleaning.
  • The snake should be removed from the enclosure first with the help of a trap box and locked up in any other place.
  • Never attempt cleaning while the snake is in the enclosure as this can be very dangerous.
  • Once the snake is out of the tank the process of cleaning is as simple as it can be.
  • Replace and remove the wet substrate. The walls and floor of the enclosure should be cleaned with the help of hot water and soap. Bleach can also be used for disinfecting.
  • While cleaning the tank and transferring the snake make sure to wear gloves in order to protect yourself from the potential bite as well as to leave any potential prey scent in the tank for the future.

In particular, gloves are used for handling venomous snakes.

how to take care of Boomslang Snake

Care Guidelines:

As the boomslang snake is a hazardous species and it is unreasonable to keep it as a pet, and it’s best to leave it in the wild .i.e, in their natural environments. However, it should only be handled or kept in captivity only when absolutely necessary. It requires advanced level care.

Nutrition:

In the wild the boomslangs are able to eat a variety of prey, where they hunt from trees mainly. Although occasionally can hunt on the ground.

diet of boomslang snake

Boomslang snakes can eat a variety of animals that including lizards, frogs, birds and their eggs as well as other small mammals. Sometimes the boomslangs may eat other Boomslang snakes

The feeding routine in captivity is as follows

Adult boomslangs should be fed once a week whereas juveniles should be fed every few days. Size of feed should be smaller for juveniles.

Water:

The boomslang’s enclosure should be provided with a bowl of water so that water requirements can be met. A water mister Can be used for misting of foliage, it allows your pet to drink water in this way, however, a water mister is not a replacement for a water bowl.

Handling:

Being a venomous snake, the boomslang snake is not an animal to handle. Its venom is lethal for human beings.

If you encounter this snake in the wild, don’t attempt to get near it or approach it.  They will consider you as a threat and are likely to attack you. 

“The Boomslang bite victim”:

The boomslang’s venom is primarily a hemotoxin and inhibits the coagulation cascade of the human body. This will lead to bleeding from all body orifices as well as can cause widespread internal bleeding (for example, major brain hemorrhage) until the boomslang’s victim dies. In addition all this process is extremely slow sometimes it takes more than 5 days for a person to die.

Fortunately, there is antivenom so if you are a victim of a boomslang’s bite, immediately report a medical emergency or keep some at your nearest disposal.

Common Health Problems:

As not a snake of captivity, there is not much known about boomslang’s health issues or diseases. In the wild, they are vulnerable to some predators like falcons, other snake species as well as fellow boomslangs. Even if it is dangerous it has to look out for itself.

Hibernation/brumation:

In winters the boomslangs undergo brumation– a cold blooded version of slowing down. The boomslang snakes brumate by curling up in their nest for some time. They do not migrate as they avoid the cold by hibernating. 

Breeding:

The Boomslangs in their lifetime have more than one partner. Before breeding the Males fight over the female boomslangs. The Boomslangs are typically “oviparous” meaning they reproduce by laying eggs. The particular months for breeding are December and January. 

Egg Laying: 

The female remains gravid for approximately 60 days then lays eggs in carefully chosen damp environments like foliage and tree hollow. In one time a female can lay up to 8-30 eggs at once.

Eggs hatch between 65-100 days.

Boomslang snake laying eggs

The Boomslangs hatch in the spring or in the very beginning of the summer. They reach their adult body size within two to three years as well as show their full colors.

The female boomslang don’t have any maternal instincts and their sole responsibility is to lay eggs. The boomslangs are on their own from the very beginning and can fend for themselves at birth. Juvenile Boomslangs are venomous just like their parents and their bites can be deadly. 

Buying a Boomslang Snake: 

The Boomslang snake is venomous and in some states is either illegal to own or only legal with a permit. It is not recommended to catch your own boomslang in the wild.  There are many laws regarding owning a venomous snake, so it is better to do your own research for your state or country before you spend any money or time on a snake like this.

Summary: 

Due to its venomous nature, we don’t recommend you to keep a boomslang as a pet. As they do best in their natural habitat.  However, it is worth learning about this creation for educational purposes.

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