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Sexual Maturity & Sex ratio

Sexual Maturity of a Boa constrictor

The point of reaching sexual maturity depends mainly on the age and weight of the boas. With regular feeding, it is usually reached in approximately 4 years. Some boids can reach sexual maturity even within a year and a half through so-called “power-feeding” (meaning you feed it as much as possible). Although practiced by some breeders, it places a significant burden on the shape and condition of the animals.

Males generally reach sexual maturity about one year earlier than females. It does not matter if the male is still a bit small when first reaching sexual maturity, as long as he produces fertile sperm. If that is the case, then his size is irrelevant. We have scratched our heads over many small Boa constrictor males, who enthusiastically mated females with 5 times the body mass of their own.

On the contrary, we do not recommend using “border line” females for breeding. The result – if the animal will even become gravid – will be quite meager with a handful of young or so. In addition, due to the frequent refusal to feed during gravidity, the snake will barely grow during this time, which means that next year’s litter won’t be much better. Besides, there also is the risk of young females to have difficulty giving birth or laying eggs, and thereby either die or require surgery.

The aspiring breeder should therefore be patient and rather wait another year. He or she will be rewarded with significantly better results and a healthy mother female.

Sex ratio in the Boa constrictor breeding group

You take one male and two, or even better, three females. The male will do his job, mate them all, and a good half a year later, the breeder will have babies popping out left and right. Since these will all be pure locality Boa constrictor, he or she will have no trouble finding buyers and get filthy rich.

So much for the theory. Unfortunately, reality is quite different. Not regarding to the pure locality Boa constrictor, but rather in regard to the tale of the “stud that knocks up three females" (to say it in breeder-slang).

Boa constrictor breeding information | Boa constrictor mating | Boa constrictor reproduction information | Boa constrictor gravidity | how to determine the sex of a Boa constricor | how to tell the sex of a boa | Boa constrictor probing | ovulation |  sexual maturity | breeding season | how to tell if my boa is gravid | Boa constrictor giving birth | gestation period | brumation

We have never experienced or heard about a single male mating with two females AND receiving acceptable litter sizes. Although it does happen that a single male successfully mates two females, the result of that is similar to what a friend of ours experienced. He had two female Boa c. imperator, distribution area Colombia. Both were sexually mature, very strong animals, almost 2 m (6.5ft) in length. During the breeding season, they were put together with one male, and were both mated. One of the females had 11 young and 12 slugs; the other one had 4 young and 8 slugs.

We are certain that the result would have been significantly better if he had placed just one female (the larger one) to the male. Similar results have been reported from other breeders. We had to learn this the hard way several times ourselves. During the breeding season 1999/2000 we placed our Boa c. longicauda male together with two appropriate females. Our hard-working male mated both females intensively. While these efforts were rewarded in the larger female (she had 17 young), the second female ended up with all infertile eggs, and died from the anesthesia during the surgery resulting from the animal being egg bound. It should be mentioned that it is much more difficult for a female boa to drop so-called “slugs” than to give birth to live young, since the young simply “slide” better, and are thereby easier to pass. It appears that an intensive mating over the duration of the entire mating season is necessary, in order to fertilize all eggs.

Therefore, if you have the option to either place two males with a female or to place two females with a male, we recommend that you choose the former option. This is especially valid for species that are difficult to breed, as for instance Boa c. constrictor. The males of that species often show little inclination for breeding, and a second male can help solving that problem, as the rivalry between the two males often increases their motivation to mate.

In our experience, success in breeding is mostly dependent on the male’s willingness to mate. Unfortunately, the males in some species of boas tend to display little motivation to mate. You may have the most beautiful and massive female, and it won’t do you any good, unless the male copulates with her. Therefore our advice for beginning breeders: Every breeding group should contain at least two or even three males.