I have curious customers, which I love, and frequently get asked about the attitude of Argentine boas and how they respond to handling. I’ll address that question here along with some tips for a fun interaction. Argentine boas are a fantastic beast! I feel like a kid when I take one out for pure enjoyment. They can be an amazing and long lived captive reptile that can be enjoyed and handled. For newer keepers I’ll hit on some things to consider.
Safety first. It starts at the very beginning with getting your boa out of its enclosure. Since I feed my snakes in their enclosure, they are naturally curious if I have food when I open their enclosure. I address this by presenting them instead with something like rolled up newspaper or a clean snake hook and I gently touch them with it. After doing this all their life, this action typically shuts off their feeding response for me and realize this interaction is not about meal time. When you have your Argentine boa out of its enclosure, always obey the fundamentals of safe handling. To start with, NO food scents should be in the area or close by. Think about this when outdoors as well. This seems like common sense but you might not realize that your rat eating boa could get very excited by a domestic chicken and a chicken coup will carry a lot of scent. Be considerate of the people around you and don’t put them in close proximity without their clear permission. Be mindful to maintain a safe distance from other pets that could be interested in your boa and potentially harass or worse, harm it. Although we think our boas are super cool, remember to go out of your way to be respectful of others, its just good policy and everyone has a good time. Lastly, always think about containment, indoors and outdoors. A couch can be your enemy here. If you go outdoors, consider bringing a proper snake bag along just in case you go far from home base. What if you get approached by an inquisitive or aggressive dog while out for a walk? You might find a way to defuse the situation is to calmly bag your boa and separate yourself. Your snake might also become a bit “tired” (think small child) of being held and just need a break and a secure dark bag is good for that.
On the fun side of the equation. Taking your boa out to handle, even outdoors can be fun for both you and your pet. Your boa will get great exercise and be enriched by the increased room to roam, fresh air and sensory opportunities. You might even observe an interesting behavior you’ve never seen before. Sun light will show off your boa’s coloration in all its glory so its a great time for lots of pics! Be safe, keep your boa secure and I hope you both have a wonderful time!