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Kenyan Sand Boa

Name Gonglyophis colubrinus
Type Burrows & Tunnels
Where am I from East Africa
Handle-ability Excellent can be handled and well tamed
Length/size 30 inches
Suitable for Beginner
Life span Ave 10 years

General

These are a small and fascinating burrowing species which are surprisingly active during the evening. They are ideal for those short on space as even a large female will very rarely exceed 30 inches in length and they are usually very tame and easy to handle. They are well adapted to burrowing, and their appearance doesn’t resemble many other snakes and this can be helpful in introducing those with a fear of snakes into reptiles.

They generally feed well and have a great feeding response where they will strike through the substrate and take their food item from below. They are available in a range of different colours to suit anyone’s aesthetic taste.

Housing

Kenyan Sand Boa are very easy and simple to house and care for at all stages of their life. An adult female can live in a 24x18 inch vivarium comfortably. Alternatively, they can be kept in a large terranium or faunarium.

They require a deep layer (4 inches) of Aspen or Hemp as a substrate but Aspen is the better choice as it is better for burrowing species as it holds tunnels well. A small water source should be included as these snakes don’t often drink in the wild. It is recommended to have a piece of corkbark, mopani wood or a stone in the snakes housing as it will aid them in shedding as they can rub against it. Plastic and silk plants can be used for decoration and to give some extra security.

Temperature

Kenyan sand boas like to be kept warm and need a basking area with a temperature of 32-35c, however they can be maintained between 35-38c to help encourage a difficult feeder to eat.

There should be a temperature gradient to allow the snake to correctly thermoregulate. This is easily achieved by having only a third of the vivarium floor covered by a heat mat so that the snake can choose if it wants to warm up or cool down.

The heat should be provided by a heat mat as these snakes do better with belly heat, so their heat source needs to be below them. When used with a Faunarium or Terranium the heat mat should be placed underneath the housing. A thermostat should be used to control the temperature of the heat mat and to prevent the mat from overheating and burning the snake. The temperature should be checked accurately by using a digital thermometer.

Lighting

Kenyan Sand Boa do not require any special lighting, or UVb light. Unless they are being kept in a dark room, in which case it recommended that a room light be left on to help establish a day and night cycle.

Humidity

Kenyan Sand Boa require a very low humidity of around 10-20%. Whilst shedding it is ok to give them a light mist every 2-3 days to raise the relative humidity and aid them in sloughing their skin.

Feeding

Kenyan Sand Boa are carnivorous and in the wild they will naturally feed on small rodents which move over the sand above them and they will strike from below and then constrict and eat their prey. They will happily feed on mice all their lives and juveniles should be started on pinkie mice. Their food should be increased in size as the snake grows. Due to their small head they aren’t as capable of eating large prey compared to other boa species.

Breeding

Kenyan Sand Boa are easily bred in captivity. They are Viviparous, which means that they give live birth. Normally to around 6-20 fully formed baby sand boas. This figure will depend on the size of the female.

Kenyan Sand Boa shouldn’t be bred until they are sexually mature, for males this maybe when they around 14-16 inches in length and for females around 28-31 inches.

They can be cycled to prepare for breeding, this usually happens by reducing their night time temperature to 18-21c. They should introduced for 1-2 weeks around May-June so that copulation can take place.

The young are simple to raise and care for.

Buying Tips

Ask to handle to snake to get an idea of its health and temperament. Young Kenyan Sand Boa can throw themselves around a bit but will generally calm down. Look for clear skin which is taught and firm and clear bright eyes. There should be no faecal staining around the vent. A healthy Kenyan Sand Boa should move easily, have no clicking, wheeze or hiss when it breathes and shouldn’t have a protruding spine.

Varieties

Kenyan Sand Boas are now being bred in a wide range of colour morphs and for different patterns. They are available as Snows, Anerys and Albinos with more morphs being developed all the time.