This absolutely spectacular looking snake is a female BRAZILIAN RAINBOW BOA named Mrs Noah! Brazilian rainbow boas are arguably the most beautiful snakes in the world and a species that I have always greatly admired. Mrs Noah was born in Tetbury, Gloucestershire in 2006 and would have been born live, as boas of all species do not lay eggs but give birth to live young!
Rainbow boas get their common name from their amazing skin, which sometimes seems to shine with all the colours of the rainbow depending on the angle of the light (especially sunlight) which shines onto their bodies. This occurs because there are tiny ridges on their scales which act like prisms, refracting the light and creating this amazing rainbow-coloured effect which I personally find astonishing! This effect can clearly be seen in the pictures above and below.
I especially like the picture directly above as it seems like she is glowing purple, blue, pink and green all over! Even though she looks amazing in these photographs they really do not do her beauty any justice, she is even better in real life! She also has a lovely head as you can see here:
Mrs Noah, like many of my snakes, appreciates the opportunity to be out in the sunshine and to have plenty of room to explore, so I allow her and the other snakes to be out in the garden as much as possible during the warm summer months (under careful supervision of course)!
She is also a hugely popular snake with children of all ages and has been visiting schools and parties with me regularly since May 2009. Here is Isabelle, 4, enjoying Mrs Noah licking her nose during my visit to her nursery class - this is something which many children love to experience due to the wonderful tickly feeling it gives them!
As with all snakes, Mrs Noah's appearance changes enormously in the days prior to shedding her skin. When any snake is preparing to shed its skin, its natural colour fades and the skin often takes on a very dull appearance compared to its normal colouration. This is caused by a build-up of fluid between the old outer skin and the new inner skin. This fluid helps the snake to shed its skin when the time is right, by allowing it to slide off more easily.
In the case of Mrs Noah you can still see some of the rainbow colouration but it is definitely much paler and subdued compared to her normal, amazingly vibrant colours!
To ensure that all of my snakes are able to shed their skin without any difficulty I always provide a tub of moist sphagnum moss in their enclosures when they are preparing to shed their skin, as this helps to raise the humidity level which prevents the skin from being too dry to shed. Anyone who has met Mrs Noah at their school, party or any other event will also know that I keep a large moss-filled tub in both her permanent and travelling enclosures the whole time anyway as a hide box, as she likes the dampness it provides due to her natural habitat being a nice moist rainforest!
Below are 'before' and 'after' pictures of her sitting in one of her hide boxes, which clearly demonstrate the significant change her skin colour goes through during the skin shedding cycle, with 'before' on the left and 'after' on the right!:
As you can see, the change once she has shed her skin is quite amazing! In the case of Mrs Noah the newly shed skin is especially beautiful, this is because of the 'rainbow' sheen which it has when viewed in good light as seen below: