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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-21-2004, 07:48 PM
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Boas and Birds

Okay, so here's the deal. I work with a gorgeous red tailed boa at the zoo. She's an absolute doll, and I'm starting to want one of my own. I know I should start with a king snake or a corn snake or a milk snake, but of all the snakes we have, she is definitely my favorite.

The only thing stopping me is my birds. Birds are a prey animal for a large boa. To be fair, just about any small animal is... small dogs, cats, pet rats and mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas... I know dogs and cats are predators, but I could see a large snake over coming a little toy poodle or a small cat without too much trouble... especially if he found them sleeping. A ferret might be a worthy opponent... but now I've gone off track.

I want to know if keeping a large constrictor in the same house as birds is an absolute no no, or if others have done it with success. Are they likely to get out and wreak havoc on small animals? I could see a boa easily fitting between the bars of my larger bird cages...

Am I going to have to chose another snake?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-21-2004, 08:19 PM
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I honestly don't know for sure, but I would imagine that if they weren't kept in the same room, that you could do it. Just double check all the locks before bed!

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-22-2004, 12:32 PM
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As you know, I'm researching snakes and birds as well and have found that even a corn snake normally kills its prey by constriction. So with a small bird like Larry, I'd have to be cautious with a full grown corn snake around.

I think the key is going to be regular tank checks before bed time and a "foolproof" cover/lock on the tank. I'd have the added bonus of the snake being in a different room than the birds -- but I expect that would be different for you. Still no decision yet -- however I have found a corn snake breeder in the city and an albino for sale with tank and all. Still hoping ex will replace his snake....but if he's a snake kid, I'm certainly not the one to stop any love of any animal (OK...except spiders -- I see no way on this earth I am going to have a big spider in my house)....but I digress.....
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-30-2004, 01:56 AM
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I keep large boids as well as birds (and rodents, and other animals). Keeping them in seperate rooms is a must. Most reptiles will respond to the mere scent of food nearby, and that often leads to a constant feeding mode and striking/biting. Keeping the snake well fed goes a long way to prevent this, but not having any chance of direct contact is the best method.

Also, making sure the snake is contained in something secured. By secured I mean with a mechanical locking device of some sort. Having an aquarium with a weight holding the top down is how the vast majority of escapes happen and is simply not adequate for any snake. Most snakes are relentless in their quest to test their environment, and are much stronger than you might think and are able to squeeze out of areas you might not think they can fit. If the top has any give at all, they'll keep trying until they can manage to find a way out. Boas generally are not too bad about it, but king snakes, corn snakes, and so forth are notorious escape artists and are tireless when it comes to testing every nook and cranny of their cage for an escape route. Getting a cage specifically designed for snakes, as one made byVision cages, and locking it is your best bet to prevent escape.


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