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Old 07-14-2006, 02:47 PM   #1
How dangerous is a boa?

Before buying ANY of the subspecies of the Boa family, a prospective buyer should consider the eventual size of the snake. A normal "Red Tail" will grow to the region of 8-10 foot and as thick as a mans mid thigh, when ANY snake reaches these proportions it is capable of killing an adult human and younger specimens will be capable of killing children. The distinction should be made here that the snake is capable of killing, though is in most cases not disposed towards it. This leads nicely to the first section of the care sheet.
This emphasis are mine.

I was playing around and came across this care sheet. This caught my eye as I thought it was a pretty extreme statement to start out with for a care sheet on boas. I have some pretty large boas 9ft+/- and I don't believe they could constrict a small child let alone an adult. In addition I don't think I've ever read where a boa constrictor has ever killed a human.
This really doesn't have anything to do with this site but I was wondering what others thought. Here's the link:
The caresheet was written by David Fulton.
Old 07-14-2006, 07:54 PM   #2
I certainly do not see where it leads nicely into a care sheet. Depends on people's perspective of a small child, but I don't think an adult 9+ foot boa constrictor can kill an adult person, unless that person is a 4 foot tall 90 pound frail 100 year old. I agree that paragraph is a bit extreme, of course some people try to scare others away from reptiles thinking they are doing a service to reptiles while endorsing the owning of them.
Old 07-14-2006, 08:18 PM   #3
I'm with seems somewhat dramatic. I have handled some extremely aggressive Colombians in the 10 ft. range but none were capable of taking my life.
Old 07-14-2006, 09:30 PM   #4
It does appear to be worded as a way to scare people but my own personal opinion is that ANY snake over 8 feet should never be handled alone. Always have someone nearby. Accidents can happen and it is hard to remove a larger constrictor. I can see a disclaimer as useful in some circumstances. Maybe it will deter impulse buyers.

I personally got coiled by a 10 foot retic one time (this was supposedly a "tame" one too). It was only around the leg but to try and uncoil while keeping the teeth away was not fun. Thankfully I had someone else in the room who knew how to help. These animals are EXTREMELY strong and hard to manuever alone. Anyone who has ever dealt with a sub adult or adult retic can tell you that they go where they want. You basically guide them. If they are intent on biting and coiling, you'll be thankfull someone else is there.
Old 07-14-2006, 09:52 PM   #5
I really hate to say it, but I think some of you are letting your love of reptiles get in the way of rational thought. Don't get me wrong, I've never been particularly impressed with the strength of BCI/BCC, but at least I am realistic enough to know & admit that I haven't been on the receiving end of an intentional squeeze. Even the large imports I've dealt with tended to strike to keep you away, and/or "hang on" when being handled. Take just a moment to think about the weight and feel of a 9ft boa, and the amount of pressure you've felt as they have tightened a bit to secure their position while being held. If any of you has ever draped one around your neck (I know, none of us would do anything so foolhardy, lol), think about the way it felt as it moved. None of you has ever felt a flash of discomfort or thought about what could happen? A boa of that size is certainly capable of killing somebody, unless you think there is some huge difference in ability between a boa and a burm (I do know of at least one incident where an 8-9 ft burm killed an adult.
Old 07-14-2006, 09:58 PM   #6
heck - I have a tendency to put my dumerils boas over my shoulder while I am cleaning their cages. Being largely terrestrial, they seem less than comfortable on the moving tree (me) and the neck is a natural place to hold on. They have never wrapped around my neck, but they have tightened up and put some pressure on the sides...enough to make me really uncomfortable - and that is with 6 fters. Give them a little size and "intent", and...well, you can see where I am going. Just because we are smart enough to avoid the problems, and the snakes don't consider us prey, doesn't mean that they are incapable. I don't go around promoting this aspect of keeping snakes, but when confronted by the question I am compelled to deal with it honestly.

*edit* by intent, I did not mean to imply an urge to kill us - but rather, a reason to constrict harder (any reason at all)
Old 07-14-2006, 10:10 PM   #7
I have to agree with Harald. Though it may be very unlikely, I believe it completely possible for a snake of 9 feet to kill a person. How many novice folks do you see think it is a very cool thing to do to walk around with a large snake draped around their neck? Just judging by the pressure I have felt from a large snake "holding on" to my arm, I do not doubt if they wanted to, they could very well exert that much and much more pressure around a person's neck, and without that person having ready assistance from another person, it could kill them.
Old 07-14-2006, 10:17 PM   #8
Nah, I'm still not on that page.

I suppose if you're considering that the human would take no action in the event of a strike, or would be completely incapacitated due to some other situation (i.e., no free hands/feet/teeth), then I suppose it's possible, but... I really just don't see it is as a reasonable scenario.

I'm not saying they're not capable of inflicting some major damage, nor am I saying that it's not advisable to live by the "one person per 6 ft. of snake" rule of handling. I'm just saying that I've never seen a 10 ft. boa that I felt was capable of killing a human.

Does anyone know of a such an event?
Old 07-15-2006, 12:39 AM   #9
very well put harald,i completely agree. TWH
Old 07-15-2006, 12:40 AM   #10
Not a boa but burms and retics have so there is still the chance it could happen even if it is remote.

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