Discover the Largest Rosy Boa Ever Recorded

Three lined rosy boa
Nathan A Shepard/

Written by Kellianne Matthews

Published: September 11, 2022

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Rosy boas are some of the most beautiful and docile snakes out there, making them a great pet for beginners. These gorgeous snakes come in many different colors and have striking, candy-like stripes. In addition, rosy boas are as calm as can be, live for a very long time, and can develop strong bonds with their caregivers.

Another reason these snakes are so popular is because rosy boas are one of the smallest species of boa constrictor in the world. But just how big can a rosy boa get? Let’s take a closer look at what makes these snakes so unique, and discover the largest rosy boa ever recorded.

What Do Rosy Boas Look Like?

rosy boa

Like their name, Coastal Rosy Boas live in areas near the coast and have mottled stripes and colors.

Rosy boas are striking snakes that naturally come in a wide variety of different colors. Like their name, rosy boas are often cream with pinkish or rose-colored, vertical stripes that run down the length of their bodies. Desert rosy boas have the most clear and distinct stripes. These snakes may be cream and pinkish, chocolate brown, orange, rust-colored, or light brown.

The Mexican rosy boa sports boldly contrasting black and cream stripes along the length of its body. Coastal rosy boas, on the other hand, have mottled stripes with speckles. These snakes are typically cream and orange like a cheerfully colored Dreamsicle ice cream bar.

In addition to their beautiful colors, rosy boas often have uniquely colored eyes that match their striped bodies. For example, a rosy boa with cream and orange stripes may also have yellowish or orange eyes, whereas a rosy boa with rose-colored stripes may have red or pinkish eyes. Mexican rosy boas have dark brown or black eyes that match their black and cream stripes.

What is the Largest Rosy Boa Ever recorded?

The largest rosy boa ever recorded was 48 inches long! However, it is extremely rare for this species to grow quite that large. Most adult rosy boas recorded measure between 24-36 inches in length, even in captivity.

Although rosy boas do not grow nearly as long as many of their South American cousins, these colorful snakes still have the quintessential “boa” appearance. Rosy boas have thick, robust bodies with an iconic “boa” head.

Where Do Rosy Boas Live?

Chocolate colored rosy boa

The Mexican Rosy Boa is also referred to as the Three Stripe Rosy Boa, due to the distinctiveness of the three dark stripes along its body.

Most boa constrictors live in tropical habitats, particularly in South America. The rosy boa, however, is quite unique because it lives in dry, desert habitats instead. It is one of only two types of boas that live in the United States. Rosy boas are found across the American southwest, living in deserts from California to Arizona, and down through Mexico and Baja.

Even though they prefer dry, desert habitats, rosy boas avoid open and wasteland areas, as they do not handle extreme heat well. Instead, these snakes live in very rocky areas, spending much of their lives hiding in caves and rock crevices.

Are Rosy Boas Dangerous?

Rosy Boas are cute and docile snakes that are completely harmless to humans.

Rosy boas are small, nonvenomous boa constrictors that pose absolutely no threat to humans. These beautiful snakes are very shy and calm, both in the wild and in captivity. In addition, rosy boas are one of the slowest moving snakes in the world. When threatened they can bite but more often curl their bodies into a ball, try to flee, or use their musk. Generally rosy boas only bite due to a powerful feeding response. In other words, if a rosy boa associates humans with food, it may bite out of hunger and excitement. However, rosy boas are not venomous and a bite from one of these small snakes will not cause harm.

What Do Rosy Boas Eat?

Rosy boas almost exclusively eat various types of rodents, like pack rats, kangaroo rats, and deer mice. However, on occasion they may also eat small reptiles, amphibians, and birds. Since rosy boas move so slowly, they wait to ambush their prey rather than actively hunt. A rosy boa will coil tightly in a rock crevice until a small animal walks by. If the animal gets close enough to the hidden snake, it will strike out quickly and grab it. The rosy boa then wraps its body around the animal, squeezing and constricting until the snake can swallow it whole.

After consuming a meal, a rosy boa can potentially go an entire month without eating again. These snakes live in cool rock crevices and have relatively slow metabolisms, so they do not need to eat as often as many other species.

Do Rosy Boas Make Good Pets?

Rosy Boas are one of the best pet snakes for both beginners and experienced snake owners.

Due to their calm temperaments and slow movements, rosy boas are excellent pets, especially for first time snake owners. These snakes can be handled quite easily, and as mentioned previously, will only bite if they associate you with food. Rosy boas have slow, deliberate movements rather than the quick, darting movements of many other species. These snakes are very gentle and can be great to handle as long as you are gentle with them as well.

Since rosy boas come from dry, desert areas, they do not require extra humidity like many other reptiles. However, if you live in an area with high humidity, your rosy boa may need help keeping its enclosure dry. Rosy boas do not require nearly as large a space as many other pet snakes, as they do not typically grow longer than 36 inches in length. However, although these snakes move slow, they are escape artists by nature, so it is important to keep them in escape-proof closures.

In addition, while many pet snakes may live only 15-20 years, rosy boas commonly live up to 30 years. One rosy boa even lived to be 60 years old! This longevity allows snake owners to build a strong relationship with their rosy boas.

It is important to note that while rosy boas are some of the best pet snakes out there, you cannot capture them from the wild. Rosy boas are protected and have a Federal Status as a species of special concern because their populations in the wild are decreasing. However, it is relatively easy to find a captive-bred rosy boa to bring home instead.

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About the Author

Kellianne Matthews is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on anthrozoology, conservation, human-animal relationships, and animal behavior. Kellianne has been writing and researching animals for over ten years and has decades of hands-on experience working with a variety of different animals. She holds a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, which she earned in 2017. A resident of Utah, Kellianne enjoys creating, exploring and learning new things, analyzing movies, caring for animals, and playing with her cats.

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