Red tail boas (also commonly known as a Boa constrictor imperator) are a very common choice of reptile pet among snake fanciers new and veteran. Purchasing one and introducing it into your home can be an extremely exciting and rewarding experience. However, for newcomers trying to know what they’re getting into, asking the important questions like “how much do red tail boas cost” is paramount.
First, let’s take a step back and understand a bit more about this animal. After all, context is important to understanding why you may need to spend money on certain items. These animals originate from Central and South American countries like Colombia and surrounding areas. They are semi-arboreal, preferring to spend a moderate amount of time in trees. Red tail boas are fairly large reptiles, with some localities measuring up to 11 feet and 60 pounds as an adult.
These animals reside in mostly tropical regions. That means that they will require a fair amount of humidity and heat (like most reptiles).
Cost of the Actual Snake
When looking at a red tail boa for sale, chances are the first thing you are going to look for is going to be the price tag. Depending on who you go to, you can expect a red tail boa to cost around $150-$200. If you’re looking for a more unique, rare morph, the price can run into the thousands. When seeking out a red tail boa for sale from a reputable breeder, you are, naturally, paying for quality care and practices that will ensure the health of your pet.
At this point, it is important to remember that you will likely receive your reptile as a baby. You will have to take into consideration how large it may eventually get. If you have a small enclosure set up now, you may very well need to transfer your pet as it grows.
If you live somewhere that shipping may be difficult or expensive, you will have to take that factor into consideration when making your budget.
How Much do Red Tail Boas Costs in Basic Supplies
As far as recurring costs for your snake go, purchasing food will be at the lower end of the price spectrum. Adult red tailed boas, in general, will only need to be fed around three appropriately sized prey items a month. Typically, one adult frozen rat or mouse will have a price tag of around $2-$5, and rabbit $15. If you so desire, you can even order in bulk to ensure that you have a reliable supply.
A good rule of thumb when choosing food for your pet will be to assess whether or not it is as wide as the thickest part of your snake. Of course, your snake will need to be fed at different frequencies depending on its age. Here’s a simple chart to help quickly determine how often to feed your snake:
Baby (0-12 months old): Every 5-7 days.
Juvenile (12-30 months old): Every 5-10 days.
Adult (30 months+): Every 10 days.
While there are a variety of prey items available for your red tail boa, such as quail, your pet can thrive on a diet of properly sized rodents.
Naturally, you are going to want to keep your snake in a quality, suitable enclosure where it can thrive. That means purchasing a tank that’s around 55-60 gallons (~150) once it reaches adult hood. You can, of course, opt for a cheaper DIY bin cage (~15), but the visibility of your enclosure may be reduced, and you might need specialty tools to do the job.
In addition to a base cage, you are going to need to acquire accessories for your snake’s enclosure to ensure that its environment is properly maintained and that they have access to enrichment. This means:
Heat lamp (~$15 +electricity)
Substrate (~$10-$20 a bag depending on size.)
Water dish (~$9)
Feeding tongs (~10)
While the costs of these items may vary, it is important to keep these estimates in consideration when tabulating the overall costs of your setup.
Most of these items are typically a one-time purchase that are usually acquired during setup. In other words, they should last a while, especially when made out of proper materials and cared for. However, they may need to be replaced a couple of times throughout your pet’s life, and how many you get will depend on the number of snakes you plan to own.
How Much Do Red Tail Boas Cost in Vet Bills
While red tail boas are typically healthy, long-lived animals (living to around 30 years in captivity), factoring in vet costs is an important part in planning for the care of any animal. While exotic vets familiar with snakes aren’t impossible to find, they can be difficult to reach in some areas. Of course, they may cost a little more than a typical vet.
Overall, you can expect to pay around $50-$100 for a basic checkup, and additional costs for anything else such as testing or medication. We would recommend budgeting around $200 a year for vet visits.
Of course, if you expect to frequent the vet, you can opt for pet insurance. This will help you dramatically reduce the costs of various health-related expenses. The price of your insurance will vary depending on which company you go with and the size of your snake. So, it would be smart to price shop. You can expect most quotes to be for around $10-$20 a month.
Remember, setting aside money for emergency vet expenses is an important part of owning any animal. No pet owner wants a $1000+ bill to catch them by surprise. You don’t need to break the bank doing this. However, it would never be a bad idea to set a little bit of money aside from each paycheck for such a fund.
Final Thoughts on “How Much do Red Tail Boas Cost”
Overall, red tail boas make for great, long-lived pets, and are not as expensive as many other companion animals. After basic starting costs, you can expect to spend relatively little in upkeep. However, like any animal, they do need their supplies maintained and regularly available. They also need their health regularly checked-in on and monitored. With a little bit of consideration and planning, however, they are a pet that can be kept by people in a variety of financial situations.