at Wed Dec 14 00:07:06 2011 [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by RichardFHoyer ]
Guessing about age of a small is somewhat problematical with the specimen in hand but even more so from photographs. That being said, there are three indications that suggest your boa was either born pretty early this year or possibly was last year's (2010) neonate.
Eye coloration in probably 95% of all neonate boas is dark gray / black and the exceptions are where some newborn boas have dark brown eyes. The eye coloration of your specimen appears to be similar to what one would expect of a boa of one year or greater in age.
Secondly, although there is considerable variation, most newborn boas have flesh colored ventral that may or may not have a tinge of yellow color. It appears as if the ventrals of your boa is pretty distinctly yellow. Also, the dorsal coloration of most neonates is a darker flesh color, almost orangish and the dorsal color turns to brown as the specimen gets older. Your boa appears to be brown dorsally.
And last, although the ventral photo is not a close-up, I can't really discern exactly where the chord attachment area is located. The area were the umbilical cord was attach is very prominent in newborn boas but the area heals with each shedding event. Newborn boas shed from about 1 to almost 4 weeks after birth but the area of cord attachment is still quite prominent after that initial shed. But then with each subsequent shed, the area heals so it would seem that your specimen has possible shed 3 times since birth although I could well be mistaken.
Your explanation for the damage on both sides of the head is possibly correct rather than being damage caused by a small rodent. But over the years, two or three other individuals have shown photos of boas they purchased that had been sold to them as captive bred and were clearly specimens captured in the wild. This is no big deal as such take from the wild has absolutely no affect on the overall population of the species in any region. I just don't like misrepresentation but is isn't anything that needs to be of any concern.
Your specimen possesses 5 prefrontal plates which is rare in boa populations from many regions and very unusual in populations in most other regions. There is one exception and that is a population that occurs in southwestern Oregon which to this point, is very unique in that regard. Whereas most populations have boas with 2 or 3 prefrontals with 4 pres being uncommon and 5 or more rare, the one SW Oregon population is where boas having 2 or 3 prefrontals is uncommon and 4 or more is the rule.
Again, that you have had success in getting the little girl (?) to take a meal is a real plus and good luck with her or him from here on out.
Richard F. Hoyer
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