Charina (=Lichanura) trivigata spp.
©1995 Melissa Kaplan
Rosy boas are one of the smaller members of the boa family. Like many boas and pythons, they are nocturnal (sometimes crepuscular), thus moving around mostly at night or around dawn and dusk. Rosys may live in excess of 15 years. Their name comes from Lichan = forefinger (Gr.(=) and - oura = tail, possibly due to the bluntness of their tail. Trivirgata refers to their prominent triad of stripes.
There are currently four subspecies of rosy boas; as with the classification of many animals, the taxonomists frequently dispute the species and subspecies designations. As more information is learned about the physiognomy and range of the animals in question, these may change Currently, the subspecies designations for the rosy boas are:
C. trivirgata Rosy Boa. to 40 in (100 cm). Ranges through southwestern U.S. (Southern California, Arizona, and northern Mexico). Ground color slate gray or brown.
L. t. bostici Mexican Rosy Boa. Ground color laced with pale, creamy broad longitudinal stripes. (Or, L. t. bostici = Cedros Island Rosy Boa and L. t. trivigata = Mexican Rosy Boa)
L. t. roseofusca Coastal Rosy Boa. Ground color laced with blotchy reddish-brown longitudinal stripes.
L. t. gracia Desert Rosy Boa. Ground color laced with well-defined pink, orange or tan longitudinal stripes.
Rosys look much like their cousins, the Rubber boa (Charina bottae). Rosy heads are set off slightly more from their bodies, and the tops of their heads are covered with numerous small scales, rather then the fewer, but much larger, scales of the Rubber boa. Rubber boas have blunt, rounded tails while the Rosy tails are more tapered, ending in a rounded tip.
In April, place the male into the female's enclosure. After about a week or so of mating, return the male to his enclosure. Add a warmer basking area to the female's enclosure, up to 86 F (30 C) and maintain that throughout the pregnancy. Expect that the female will not eat much--or at all--during this time.
Birth will generally occur in September. Five to six live young (as many as 13 have been reported), each about 12 inches in overall length, will be born. The babies are active, often feisty, but bites should not be of concern. Babies should be removed from the mother shortly after birth.
After their first shed, which may occur as soon as two days after birth or as long as two weeks later, feed the babies pinkies. Some have reportedly fed prior to their first shed; if they are particularly feisty or appear to be seeking, try offering them food sooner. Remember: if you are housing them together you must separate them at feeding time!
Some may not feed at all at this time: in the wild, they are born just before the winter sets in, and in the wild many such late-season babies do not eat at all, going right into hibernation for the winter, emerging in the spring ready to feed. If they are not losing body mass or weight while not feeding, then not feeding should not be a reason for panic. It is always nice, however, to get them feeding if you can, but resorting to force feeding should only be done if the snake is losing weight. If the babies are feeding, you may want to not hibernate them during their first winter, using that time to feed them weekly and ensure them a good, healthy start in life.
Young rosys will have almost attained their full adult size by their second winter. Sexual maturity occurs by age 3-4 years. Females in the wild generally breed only every other year, though this may not be the case in captivity. If you do breed yearly, be sure to evaluate the female's overall condition individually each year before doing so. If she is not up to breeding weight or has not fully recovered from the previous fall's birthing, let her rest a year.
TIGR Reptile Database: Boidae: Charina
Mattison, C. The Care of Reptiles and Amphibians in Captivity. London: Blandford Press. 1982/1992
Walls, J. G. Boas: Rosy and Ground. Neptune City NJ: TFH Publications. 1994
Obst, F. J., et al. The Completely Illustrated Atlas of Reptiles and Amphibians for the Terrarium. Neptune City NJ: TFH Publications. 1988
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