return to main index

  mobile - desktop
follow us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on YouTube link to us on LinkedIn
click here for Rodent Pro  
click here for Rodent Pro
Live Reptiles, Cages, Feeders, More...
Online/Stores/Expos - LLLReptile.com
Locate a business by name: click to list your business
search the classifieds. buy an account
events by zip code list an event
Search the forums             Search in:
News & Events: Herp Photo of the Day: Komodo . . . . . . . . . .  Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday! . . . . . . . . . .  Bay Area Amph. and Reptile Society Meeti - Oct. 25, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  Suncoast Herp Society Meeting - Oct. 26, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  Richmond Reptile Expo - Oct. 26, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiDay Gainesville - Oct. 26, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Houston - Oct. 26-27, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Birmingham - Oct. 26-27, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  Havre de Grace Reptile Expo - Oct. 26, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  Chicago Herpetological Society Meeting - Oct. 30, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiDay Port Charlotte - Nov 02, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Fort Walton Beach - Nov. 02-03, 2019 . . . . . . . . . . 

A BRIEF REVIEW OF CANDOIA…THE PACIFIC BOAS
BY JERRY CONWAY

DESCRIPTIONS & DISTRIBUTION

The genus Candoia comprises a group of small boa species found only in the south pacific islands. These islands include but are not limited to New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji Islands & several Indonesian islands. All Candoia have an upturned rostral scale that resembles a hognose snake. In addition, all of these snakes have an overall venomous appearance with flattened triangular shaped heads and rounded sausage shaped bodies. Colors vary, but most Candoia are usually some shade of brown, tan or black. Several species show spectacluar colors such as reds, oranges, pinks & whites. The length of Candoia ranges from 20 Inches to 6 feet, and the diameter from 1 inch to 4 inches.

I believe that there should be at least 5 valid species of Candoia. Taxanomic review may show even more. The species are as follows:

  • PACIFIC OR NEW GUINEA TREE BOA (Candoia carinata carinata)
  • PACIFIC OR SOLOMON ISLANDS GROUND BOA (Candoia carinata paulsoni)
  • PACIFIC OR SOLOMON ISLANDS TREE BOA (Candoia bibroni australis)
  • FIJI BOA (Candoia bibroni bibroni)
  • NEW GUINEA GROUND BOA OR VIPER BOA (Candoia aspera)

The Indonesian island of Halmahera is home to a newly found species of ground boa. White solomon ground boas may also deserve full species status.

BASIC CARE & MAINTENANCE

I keep my Candoia collection at approximately 80 degrees year round. My specimens do not seem to like a hot environment. All species require a large water bowl for soaking Branches are not needed as much with viper boas, but all other species will use branches if provided. Even my ground boas love to come down off their branches to attack their prey. I have even gotten non-feeders to eat by adding a few branches to the cage. Since most of these boas are bewteen 2-3 feet, large cages are not necessary. I use newspaper as a substrate for all animals. As with all boas, Candoia are mostly nocturnal. All species have strong prehensile tails.

FEEDING

I have noticed over the many years I have worked with Candoia, that they seem to have a slower metabolism than most boids. I feed my adults only 1 rodent every 3-4 weeks. Neonates & juveniles are fed every 10 days. During their winter cooldown, some specimens will go off feed. Some of my male ground boas may not eat for 6 months with no ill effects. All adult Candoia readily accept mice & rats. The feeding of neonates is not as hard as you've all probably heard. Most baby candoia will not eat pinkie mice on the first attempt. There is a very simple reason for this. They're not supposed to! Neonates react wildly when a small treefrog or lizard is placed in their cage. It is instinctive for them to grab swift moving prey items. So I will let them eat 5 or 6 lizards or frogs. This will get them going and put on weight. The next step is the secret to feeding baby Candoia. No food for 3 solid weeks! After several frogs or lizards, leave the neonate alone. Just make sure it has a fresh water bowl. When approximately 3 weeks pass, offer the baby snake a pinkie that is heavily scented with its favorite food item. This usually works all the time. If it doesn't you will have to give it some more frogs or lizards and try again at a later time. Some neonates will switch over to pinkies on their own at 6-9 months of age. Baby australis & baby carinata will usually neever start on pinkies. Ground and viper boas are the best pinkie starters.

BREEDING

One of my favorite aspects of Candoia breeding is the ease of sexing all species. Males have very large hooks as spurs, while females have no spurs at all. A 4-6 week cooldown is recommended to stimulate breeding activity. Candoia breeding is relatively easy. I use multiple males to insure breeding success males need tp stimulate one another to court and copulate with a female. This is similar to ball python group breedings. The more males you have the better your success rate will be. Male Candoia are usually half the size of females, So you can place a group of animals in a 3 foot cage.

When animals pair up , you can then move them to their own enclosures for weeks of copulation. The gestation period for gravid females is 7-9 months. I have seen gravid females avoid their heat source. Neonates are very small, with most being 6-8 inches long. All neonates are very docile with the occasional nip from a baby viper boa.

SUMMARY

I think there are more candoia species awaiting discovery. There are 10,000 islands in Indonesia alone. Most of these areas are uninhabited. This is a very exciting prospect to consider. I am looking forward to continuing my work with Candoia & taking Candoia propagation into the next century.

Its hard for me to explain why I love these animals the way I do. I think a lot of it is because no one gives them any respect. I like to root for the underdog! They are so different from any other boid or colubrid on the planet.They seem to have a mystique about them. I hope you will join me and become involved with Candoia, then we can root for them together!