The most important factor in successfully maintaining Amazon Basins (or any reptile for that matter) in captivity is to provide a stable, stress free, clean environment for your animal. The displaying and handling of your animals should be a secondary objective to their health and well-being. We believe that the reduction or elimination of stress is perhaps the most critical factor in successfully maintaining and reproducing Amazon Basins in captivity. The reduction or elimination of stress relates to the physical environment in which the animal is kept in terms of space, security, temperature, light cycle, humidity and cleanliness. The size and frequency of feeding are also critical factors for this species in addition to providing adequate exercise for your animals.
The following consists of details of the environments and systems we have developed in successfully maintaining and reproducing Amazon Basin Emerald Tree Boas. Some of our methods represent a departure from what has traditionally been done in the past by breeders of Basins in the United States. We present these methods and developments in the hope to stimulate further thoughts and ideas for successfully propagating these magnificent creatures in captive populations. Regardless of the type of environment you choose to create, it is mandatory that the system is fully operational and debugged for an extended period of time prior to putting an animal in the enclosure. Spikes in humidity and temperature can potentially cause respiratory or shedding problems with your Basins.
Historically, many collectors of Amazon Basins have maintained their animals in clear Plexiglas cages with "water drawers" built into the bottom of the cage structure to maintain humidity with the thought that this simulates the animals' natural environment, e.g. living in a tree over the Amazon River Basin. In these enclosures the Basins are forced to stay on their perches and relegated to drinking out of the same container (water drawer) that they defecate in. We believe this may not be the most optimum approach for the following reasons:
- The Amazon Basin is a secretive animal with superb camouflage with its green and white coloration. Forcing your animals to perch in the open in a transparent cage creates a high stress environment.
- Forcing your animals to remain on their perches because the cage floor is a water drawer is a further source of stress. Virtually all of our animals occasionally spend time on the cage floor especially when cruising at night. Gravid females often will spend days and in some cases their entire gestation period resting on the cage floor.
- Forcing a Basin to drink out of the same container (water drawer) that they defecate in is a recipe for disaster. This is especially true since the butt joint, bonded Plexiglas water drawers frequently have crevices that can not be adequately cleaned.
Our cage and rack designs are built by Habitat Systems Limited. These cages are the culmination of all that we have learned from maintaining and breeding Basins over the last decade.