The genus Candoia is comprised of several species of boas found on South Pacific islands such as the Solomon Islands and New Guinea.
Candoia make ideal captives because they are small and do not have any dramatic husbandry requirements. Though they eat lizards and frogs in the wild, most readily take rodents. They have a slow metabolism, and adults only need to be fed every couple of weeks.
Many captive bred or long term captive Candoia are docile, but wild caught specimens are often defensive and will strike readily and repeatedly. Their poor attitudes are redeemed by their beauty, and Candoia aficionados are happy with this trade off. Candoia have keeled scales that collect dirt, giving their wild skin a mask of grime. A wild caught specimen shedding for the first time in captivity is an exciting event. As the muddy wild skin peels away, it reveals the stunning colors and patterns that were camouflaged beneath. Candoia are polymorphic, meaning their colors and patterns come in many varieties in the population. From bright oranges to solid black, Candoia are available in a rainbow of colors. Many species also exhibit color changes, possessing a dark phase and a light phase, such as this Solomon Island Tree Boa Candoia bibroni australis:
Glass terrariums, vision cages and plastic tubs can all be used. Ground boas prefer horizontally oriented enclosures, while the tree boas will prefer vertical caging.
Decor: All species, except viper boas, will climb and can be provided with branches. Tree boas should always be provided with some form of climbing structure. A large water bowl is a must as all Candoia spend a fair amount of time in the water. At least one hide should be provided. Fake or live plants can be used to provide additional climbing and hiding places.
Substrate: Substrate should be kept dry. Candoia paulsoni, in particular, are subject to blister disease if kept on wet substrate. Newspaper, newsprint or paper towels make a good substrate, as can particulate substrate like aspen, cyprus and Reptichip.
Candoia thrive in the upper 70s and lower 80s. We keep ours around 78-80 F. Heat can be provided with ambient temperature if you have a heated snake room, or a ceramic heat emitter, lightbulb or heating pad controlled by a thermostat.
Humidity should be kept around 50-70%.
Food and water
Water: clean, room temperature water should be provided at all times. A large water bowl is a must as Candoia spend a lot of time soaking.
Food: most Candoia will eat rodents. An appropriately sized rodent can be offered once a week for neonates and subadults, while full grown adults only need to be fed every couple of weeks. It is not uncommon for adults to go off of feed for several months, and is not cause for alarm unless weight loss or dehydration is noted. Lizards and frogs can be offered as well. If this is not desired, Candoia that refuse rodents at first may require that the rodents be scented with lizards or frogs, either temporarily or long term.
Candoia are extremely easy to sex. No probing or popping is required. Males have visible pelvic spurs, while females do not.
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Please see the Candoia Bible for comprehensive information on specific species.
And if you’re interested in setting up a bioactive vivarium for your pet, the Bio Dude is an excellent source for premade kits.