Madagascar Ground Boa

Image Credit : RegiusCO

Acrantophis madagascariensis is the largest snake species found on the island of Madagascar. Acrantophis madagascariensis, like others in the family, dispatch their prey by constriction.

The color pattern consists of a pale reddish-brown ground color mixed with gray, overlaid with a pattern dorsal rhombs outlined with black or brown. Sometimes this creates a vague zigzag impression. The sides are patterned a series of black ovoid markings with reddish blotches, often bordered or centered with white.

  • Scientific name : Acrantophis madagascariensis
  • Distribution : North Madagascar, Nossi Be
  • Average Size : 2.5 m (8.2 ft)
  • Life Span : 20 years or more
  • Difficulty : Intermediate


A 1.8 meters long by 0.9 meters wide (6 x 3 feet) enclosure is more than adequate for the average size adult. Neonates can be kept in 20 gallon long glass tanks. I find that like most snakes Acrantophis madagascariensis don’t appreciate the finer points of cage decorating. Decorative plants and vines invariably end up getting trampled over and trashed but you can use heavy but steady logs in order to create a naturalistic approach in the enclosure. It’s a good practice to avoid housing it with other snakes except for breeding purposes.

Hide box

It’s recommended to provide a snug dark hide on both sides of the terrarium.


MGB boas do well on a variety of substrates, a good option would be cypress mulch. You should have deep substrate, enough for the snake to burrow in it.

Lighting – Heating

It is recommended to keep full spectrum light pattern that mimics normal daytime (12h cycle on/off).
MGB prefer lower temps than the average red-tailed boa. Their enclosures should have a hot side with temps around 29-31 ºC (85-88 ºF) and a cool side of 24-27 ºC (75-80 ºF). In my experience they will spend the majority of their time on the cool end of their enclosures and periodically bask on the warm end especially at night as they are a nocturnal species. Heat can be provided using heat lamps, pads, tape, or radiant heat panels (my personal preference).


Offer a water bowl that is large enough for them to soak in. A weekly water bowl change is necessary regardless of whether it appears clean or not.


Humidity should be kept in the mid-range at around 70%. Misting the enclosure may be necessary especially during the winter months when ambient household humidity usually drops.


All snakes are carnivores. Madagascar ground boas should be fed a diet consisting of appropriately sized rodents. I highly recommend feeding frozen/thawed rodents or pre-killed prey items. While neonates can be fed fuzzy mice I recommend switching them to rats as soon as possible to avoid problems converting them to rats further down the road. These animals are ambush predators and may be shy eaters.
Stubborn feeders may need to be fed in a small dark enclosure and sometimes a frozen/thawed rodent may have to be left in their enclosure with them over night. Young snakes should be fed every 7-10 days and larger juveniles and adults should be fed about every 14-20 days as they seem to be fairly lazy animals with a slower metabolism and a tendency to become overweight.


For the most part, this is a moderately heavy-bodied species. When you handle them, they need to be properly supported. Support as much weight as possible if not all with one arm having a free hand is very useful. The first 48 hours after a feeding your snake should be left alone to digest its meal.


Spot clean whenever appropriate. We also do a weekly cleaning which consists of changing substrate, cleaning the water bowl and bathing the animal if necessary. Once a month we do a sanitation clean using Chlorhexidine solution (veterinary disinfectant) or 1 to 4 bleach solution (1 part bleach to 4 parts water).


When in shed like all snakes benefit from a slight increase in humidity and may even make use of a humid hide created by placing moist sphagnum moss inside of a hide.

Potential Health Problems

If they are provided an appropriate temperature range, they are very healthy animals. Respiratory infections (RI) are known to occur when the animals don’t have supportive temperatures. A lot of MGB can be fairly active; cages should be free of any sharp objects or excessively rough surfaces. Minor scrapes and cuts to the face seem somewhat common.


Dumeril's boa lovers

The information contained in this care sheet reflect the opinions and methods of the mentioned breeder, based on their expertise and long-established experience.