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REPTILE / new pets

A Set-up Guide for New Sand Boa or Rosy Boa Pets

Tips for home, health, food and fun


Five things to know about sand or rosy boas

  • They can live up to 15 years
  • They grow to be over 3 feet long
  • They prefer to live alone
  • They are creatures of the night
  • They’re best for experienced pet parents

Your boa’s habitat

Your boa should live alone in a glass terrarium that’s at least 20 gallons in volume and has a locking screened lid.

Decorationg your boa’s habitat

  • Line the bottom of the terrarium with 2 inches of aspen reptile bedding or reptile sand. Scoop the poop frequently and treat your snake to fresh bedding once a month.
  • Provide a wide, shallow water dish for your snake.
  • Stock the habitat with lots of branches, living or artificial, for hiding and climbing.
  • Add a rock or wooden hiding place on the side of the terrarium that will be the cool side.
  • Make sure nothing in the tank will wobble or topple if your pet slithers over it.
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Heat & lights

  • The terrarium should have a warm side and a cool side. During the day, boas like temperatures between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit on the warm side of the tank, and between 75 F and 80 F on the cool side. At night, the whole tank should be between 65 F and 70 F. A heat bulb or ceramic heat emitter will keep the warm side at the right temperature. Use a thermometer at each end to help you regulate the habitat overall.
  • The habitat’s humidity should be between 30% and 50%. Use a hygrometer — a device that measures humidity — to keep track.
  • Boas require lighting that mimics day and night. Use a fluorescent bulb in the habitat to mimic daylight for 12 hours a day.
  • At night, switch to a night-specific bulb so you can watch your boa with minimum disturbance.
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Help keep your sand or rosy boa healthy

Try not to handle new boas for three or four days to give them a chance to get acclimated to their new surroundings. Whether your boa is new or settled-in, be sure to contact a vet if you notice any of these symptoms of illness or distress:

  • More time spent hiding
  • Eating or drinking less; weight loss
  • Shedding problems
  • Discolored skin
  • Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth
  • Runny droppings for more than two days

If you have questions about the health of your boa, talk to a PetSmart store associate or a veterinarian who knows snake health.


Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets. Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.

The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.