This absolutely gorgeous snake is a young male BRAZILIAN RAINBOW BOA named Pele! Brazilian rainbow boas are arguably some of the most beautiful snakes in the world and I have admired them for more than 40yrs, ever since I first met one as a child. Pele was born on 26th August 2022 in Pontypool, Wales and I have owned him since early October 2022, when he was just six weeks old. The pictures below were taken in early September 2023, shortly ater his first birthday.
When I first bought Pele in September 2022, at just a few weeks old, he was very tiny and weighed in at just 27g! This picture was taken on that day:
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 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 on Pele’s head in the picture below.
I previously owned a wonderful adult female Brazilian rainbow boa named Mrs Noah, who was with me for 14 years until she tragically died at the age of 16 in the summer of 2022. She was one of my favourite snakes of all time and was probably responsible for changing the views of more snake-fearing people than any other snake in my collection, having met countless people in schools and at parties over the years. These are some pictures of the amazing Mrs Noah, who is very sadly missed:
Brazilian rainbow boas, like many of my snakes, appreciate the opportunity to be out in the warmth of the sun and to have plenty of room to explore, so used to I allow Mrs Noah to be out in the garden as much as possible during the warm summer months (under careful supervision of course). When Pele is large enough he will have that same experience too!
As with all snakes, a rainbow boa’s appearance changes enormously in the days prior to shedding its 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 a rainbow boa you can still see some of the rainbow colouration but it is definitely much paler and subdued compared to their 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 be shed successfully.
Below are ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of Mrs Noah sitting in a hide box, which clearly demonstrate the significant change the skin colour goes through during the shedding cycle, with ‘before’ on the left and ‘after’ on the right!
As you can see, the change once a snake has shed its skin is quite amazing! In the case of a rainbow boa the newly shed skin is especially beautiful; this is because of the ‘rainbow’ sheen it has when viewed in good light as seen below: