Pet Care Guides Reptile

Candoia (Pacific Island Boa)


South Pacific Islands


Varies Greatly

Average Size

20 inches - 6 feet


Up to 35 years

General Information

Pacific island boas occur in many islands of the Indonesian archipelago to New Guinea. These boas range in size from the viper boa at 24 inches to the 3.5 feet Solomon island ground boa. Most specimens of this genus are wild caught, so when purchasing one should already have a reptile vet to take the animal for a general checkup. In the wild these boas are mainly frog and lizard eaters. When freshly imported they tend to need lizard or frog scented prey items.

Proper Caging and Environment

Generally, these snakes should be kept in a cage about the same length as the snake and half as deep. For the arboreal species a cage at least 24� high for adults should be provided. All cages need to be able to retain moisture more than a screen top will provide.


Cypress mulch can be used with great success. This bedding has many advantages such as:

  • Holds humidity very well
  • Allows the snake to bury itself
  • Looks natural and attractive

This bedding will often contain/harbor bugs called wood lice. These are very small and many people confuse these with mites. These bugs are 1mm long and have a silver-grey color to them. Mites on the other hand, which are very harmful, are the same size but are a jet black color and more rounded in shape. The wood lice are harmless to the snake, and should only be a cause for concern if they begin to overrun the enclosure.

Heat and Lighting

Candoia require a daytime temperature of 80-82 degrees, and a nighttime temperature of 75-80 degrees. These temperatures can be achieved through the use of a heat lamp. Heat lamps are usually the best way to go because this setup allows for a more natural heat source (like the sun) and it lights up the enclosure, to a degree, for viewing purposes. You can even use different colored bulbs to simulate a day and night photoperiod. There are black/purple bulbs for nighttime heat and blue/white bulbs for daytime heat. The exact wattage needed will need to be determined by the owner, because everyone has different temperature preferences for their homes.

Hiding areas

Hiding areas should be tight fitting so the snake will feel secure. Ideally two hiding areas should be provided on opposite sides of the enclosure as to allow the snake to be able to thermoregulate and hide at the same time.


Water should be provided in two ways. These are a water dish and daily misting. Daily misting sessions should be provided in order to maintain proper humidity levels and to allow the snake to drink. Pacific island boas require humidity levels between 60 and 80%.


This is the favorite part of snake husbandry for most people. As a general rule of thumb, the snake should be fed a prey item 1-1.5 times larger than the thickest part of the snake’s body. If the prey item being offered is too big, the snake will often regurgitate the meal after 2-3 days. This is extremely stressful and draining on the snake, and should be avoided at all costs. On the other hand, a prey item that is too small will result in the snake not receiving enough food and malnutrition. As neonates and juvenile snakes, they should be fed every 7 days. As they mature the duration between feedings can be extended to every 10-14 days. Some fresh imports will refuse rodents if that happens scenting the rodent with a frog or lizard by rubbing both prey items together will usually result in success.


Candoia require a period of high humidity once the shedding cycle begins. This allows the snake to slough off its skin in one piece rather than many pieces. A good, solid shed is much healthier for the snake. Often, if humidity levels are not raised when the opaque cycle begins, the snake will have a bad shed, which results in dried patches of skin left on the snake and, on occasion, eye caps. In order to sufficiently increase humidity levels, the enclosure should be misted twice a day for the duration of the shed cycle. If the snake still has problems shedding, a short soaking in luke-warm water will usually help to loosen the remaining skin.

If you have any questions or concerns about your Pacific island boa, please call to speak with one of our reptile room employees at 717-299-5691 ext.1240.