Kenyan Sand Boa care is a relatively easy task as they have a docile nature and small size, the only thing you should keep in your mind is the tank, and its specifications, which is also a simple task.
Also known as Gongylophis colubrinus, this snake specie is currently one of the most popular Boa species in the pet trade.
Although their name may suggest that they come strictly from Kenya, they originate from areas of Northeast Africa and inhabit countries such as Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Kenya. Their natural environment is semi-desert, dry areas with hot temperatures, rocks, and sandy soil.
- Scientific Name: Eryx colubrinus loveridgei
- Native to: Africa and the Middle East
- Maximum Length: Adult boas reach 1 to 3 feet long, depending on species.
- Life Span: 20+ years
The Sand Boa’s popularity is because of their small size and docile nature, making them very easy and suitable for novice pet reptile owners. Plus, they do not need any special treatment, which is a big plus when it comes to Boa handling.
The Kenyan Sand Boa pet is a beautiful creature with pretty colors and incredible behaviors, making them almost PERFECT for pet use.
Without wasting any more time, let’s take a quick look at everything KS boa related.
Simple Kenyan Sand Boa Care Tips
Baby Sand Boas pet can live in a 5-20 gallon terrarium depending on the species. The older the boa grows, the enclosure should be no shorter than 1/2 the length of the snake. Make sure the terrarium has a well-ventilated top. Sand Boas love to quickly dig and bury themselves in the sand.
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Use Carefresh or Sani-chips for these boas. Avoid using cedar shavings ot bark nuggets as they are poisonous to reptiles.
As for the substrate, even though their name may imply so – sand is actually not the best substrate. The reason is that it may get stuck in their gut during feeding periods, causing internal problems that can make your pet sick. An ideal substrate would be something like aspen bedding, which is less likely to cause problems during ingestion.
Keep the environment and substrate as dry as possible, and make sure your water dish doesn’t spill which can cause humidity issues. This can be a problem for some snakes, so it’s best to keep it as dry as possible.
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As earlier stated, Sand Boas love to dig. So their care sheet would include adding falt rocks (resting frimly on the bottom of the terrarium), fake succulent plants, and other aquarium décor for the snake to feel at home and explore.
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Temperature and Lighting
The dailylight temperature should be around 84-90° F. Night time temperatures should not drop below 78° F. UVB is not a necessity for these nocturnal snakes, but will not be harmful to your boa. Use a undertank heater. You can use the sunlight ot You can use fluorescent lights and leave them on for 8-12 hours a day. During the night, use an infrared heat lamp to view your snake.
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Food and Water
Kenyan sand Boa bite and eat rodents no bigger than their grith. Baby Sand Boas should be fed only once a week. Small and pinky mice are recommended meals for baby Sand Boas.
The size of food required will depend on the species of boa you plan on keeping. It is ideal to feed your boa thawed/frozen rodents.
For Sand Boas, you must ensure the thawed rodent is not damp as sand will stick to it and prevent the boa from eating it. Most Sand Boa keepers feed their boas in plastic dish or small paper bag and then return it to their enclosure.
This stops the boa from eating sand and causing an impaction that can be life-threatening. Also, a live rodent can cause harm to your boa if it tries to fight back.
Provide a dish of fresh clean water and make sure it stays clean. These boas are desert dwellers and need very little drinking water. We do recommend keeping a small dish of water with them just in case.
It’s best to use frozen and thawed prey rather than a live one, as it can cause some damage to your pet. Live prey can cause bite wounds, and that’s bad for your pet, so it’s best to stick to frozen/thawed food to prevent that from happening.
Ideal feeding times are during the night, as the snake likes to rest during the day. Keep in mind that during it’s shedding cycle, your pet may refuse to digest the food, so make sure you let it shed in peace and don’t take it for a sign of bad health.
This is no #5 on the list of Kenyan Sand Boa care tips.
Enough on Kenyan Sand Boa care, let’s learn somethings interesting.
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Sand Boa Kenyan Fun Fact and Characteristics
Sand Boas make excellent reptile pets. They do not require much care and most boa keepers consider them display pets rather than pets to handle often.
It’s really important to take note of their extremely docile nature since this is usually the most important thing for most pet owners. Kenyan Sand Boas do not like to make trouble and will make a calm, peaceful pet in most cases. However, as is the case with most snakes – you should be careful when handling them, but we’ll get to that later.
Kenyan Sand Boas are the most commonly available species and they now come in a variety of different markings and colors including Nuclear,
Paradox and Dodoma.
These snakes are perfect size for pet owners who want a boa species but one that stays small. These boas are night creatures so you can watch them become SUPERSNAKES at night.
Ensure you provide a 2-3”inch of sand for your boa to dig into.
As for their natural behavior, they are known to be a burrowing species, preferring to stay underground most of the time, waiting for the correct time to pop out. During the day under hot temperatures, you should not expect to see them a whole lot, but during the night they feel way more comfortable with peeking out and having some fun. This obviously has some advantages as well as disadvantages, so you should keep it in mind.
Perhaps the best thing about this species is their magnificent colors, especially their morphs. Their natural color is a creamy white body with yellow, orange and brown spots all over. However, the most beautiful appearances and colors usually come from one of their morphs.
Kenyan Sand Boa Size & Lifespan
This specie is unique for its small size – Kenyan Sand Boa usually comes with a small head, eyes, and their short tails, making them really easy to handle.
However, females are known to be larger than male, with males growing up to 20 inches and females up to 25 inches.
One thing you should never forget is that Kenyan Sand Boa care is a long-term commitment, given that tjis species is known to live up to 30 years in captivity.
Kenyan Sand Boa Morphs
Like plenty other snake species, East African Boas were subject to a lot of morphing, especially after their rise in popularity within the pet community.
Now, they come in various colors and morphs, highlighting their magnificent appearance.
Some of the most popular Kenyan Sand Boa morphs are:
Albino Sand Boa
Anerythristic Sand Boa
Nuclear Sand Boa
Paradox Sand Boa
Snow Sand Boa
As their name already suggests, they come in various colors. My personal favorite is the Nuclear Kenyan Sand Boas and the Snow boas. Here is why we loved them both.
Nuclear morph comes in a unique and amazing red colors that are simply designed to capture your eyes. This is a really good coloring, especially on brighter surfaces like aspen.
Snow morph, on the other hand, is one of the best because of its distinct unique, crystal snow-like appearance that stands out in darker substrates. This specific appearance merely majestic, and you should definitely give it a shot..
Kenyan Sand Boa Bite
As for the bite, you’re probably wondering…
“Are they poisonous?”
The answer is – No. Kenyan Snad Boas do not have venom. Instead, they are constrictor snakes that wrap around their prey and suffocate it to death, after which they proceed to swallow it.
Although their bite won’t kill or make you sick, it is still a bad idea to get bitten as it can cause some discomfort and pain. Besides, if you give your snake a reason to bite you, it means that your pet was probably heavily stressed out, and that’s always a bad sign he or she is not alright.
Kenyan Sand Boas rarely bit humans, but if they do so, then that’s because they’ve been exposed to stress. If you notice that your pet has become nervous, it’s best to leave it alone for a while and come back later.
Kenyan Sand Boa Handling
Handling Kenyan Sand Boa is mostly not a difficult task at all. To be honest, they’re a relatively friendly species that do not mind being handled. However, they’re still snakes (and can be unpredictable at times), so it’s best to keep your contact to a minimum.
When handling your Boa, make sure you use slow and steady movements. If you’re trying to grab your pet, always approach from the top and never grab their front side, as you may be mistaken for prey.
When being handled from the rear/middle end, they get comfortable with your hand and from there on just go with the flow.
Because they’re a burrowing species, they may try to take shelter inside of your clothes, so keep a close eye on them.
Your Kenyan Sand Boa UK snake may refuse to eat a meal because it is in shed. You will know this by the dulling of the color, and your snake may be more jumpy.
They should be handled as little a possible until they have completed their shed, and if fed should only be offered small meals.
This prevents a large meal from stretching the fragile new skin and causing injury. Many snakes will not eat until the shed is complete.
The shed process lasts between 1-2 weeks. The skin for a few days to a week will look dull, then it will almost look normal, but a close look at the belly shows that it looks slightly yellowish rather than white.
A couple of days after this, the snake will shed, more in the evening. If the snake does shed completely, you can place it in a damp cloth snake bag inside the cage for a couple of hours.
This usually works. If there are a few stubborn spots you can apply a little contact lens wetting solution, let it soak, then gently peel the skin off.
You should check the shed skin if possible to see that the eyecaps have shed. If they are retained for more than a couple of sheds they can damage the eye. If your snake retains an eyecap you can try the damp snake bag.
If that does not work, you can take a piece of masking tape or scotch tape (not something as sticky as duct tape) and reduce the stickiness a bit by sticking it to your finger a few more times, then gently placing it over the eyecap and lifting, using a rolling motion.
If this doesn’t work either wait until the next shed to see if it comes off then, or seek the knowledge of a herp vet. If the eyecap is only retained for a single shed it is very unlikely to cause problems, but people have blinded their snakes by trying to use forceps to take out retained eyecaps.
Providing a humidity box ensures your snake will never have a bad shed.
Sanitation And Health
Your snake cage will be easy to clean.
The reason is that Sand boas produce their uric acid in a solid form as a small white lump of urates. Their poop are also dry and do not have a terrible odor, unless left in the humidity box for some time.
Clean the humidity box frequently, every 1-2 weeks if not soiled. But if it is soiled or the moss molds it should be immediately cleaned!
The rest of the cage is easier to clean this way.
If you use other substrate or aspen it may need to be replaced more frequently. You can disinfect cage and furnishings with a 10% bleach solution or a commercial disinfectant like Quatricide.
To be effective, they must sit on the surface for at least 10 minutes to be effective. ENSURE you follow directions and rinse thoroughly. Pinesol has materials that are harmful to reptiles, so avoid it and similar products.
Your sand boa, like other reptiles may be harbouring a small amount of Salmonella. A couple of simple precautions in handling your Kenyan Sand Boa pet will make sure this never cause any problems:
- Do not kiss your snake, or allow it tongue-flick your lips.
- Wash your hands well with a disinfectant after handling, or use a disinfectant gel
- Disinfect any surface that your snake touches which may be a young child, or food. People and infants with impaired immune systems should probably not have contact with any reptiles, but chicken from the supermarket causes far more cases of Salmonella than pet reptiles do.
- Once you get a new snake, you should quarantine it for 6 months, to prevent transmission of diseases and parasites. Sand boas are generally hardy snakes and rarely get sick, but symptoms such as gaping to breath; excess mucus, repeated regurgitation, or anything else out of the ordinary should be investigated by a herp vet.
Kenyan Sand Boa Breeding
With a reputation for being one of the best beginner snake pets, Kenyan Sand Boa is also very easy to breed. They have no problems to mate in captivity, so that’s another plus.
Before you try to breed them, you must know how to differentiate males and females, which is easy given that they are dimorphic species, with clear differences in sex.
- Males will usually be smaller and…
- Females will be larger
This is all the information you will need to differentiate successfully when it comes to Kenyan Sand boa care. If they’re well fed and developed, you will easily notice the bigger female. Now that you know the difference, it’s time for some preparation for the mating season.
The best thing you can do before completing your introduction your snakes together is to give them some time to prepare for their mating period. In order to do this, you should begin by toning down and reducing your heating.
By emulating colder temperatures, you are signalling to your Sand boa pet that mating season is about to start. Ideally, you want to do this six to eight weeks before making an attempt.
Mating – How To Mate Your Pet
Now that your snakes are in the breeding mood, you just need to introduce them to one another. Unless they show aggressive begavior to each other from the get-go, it’s a good idea to just leave them on their own.
If your male seems passive and uninterested, you can try introducing a second male into the mix, which will push the first one more likely to breed, especially when he smells the other male and feels he is closer.
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Now that you have successfully paired your Kenyan Sand Boas together, you should see them stick cuddle with glimpses of courtship and even copulation if you’re lucky enough. But, this will most likely happen during the night while you’re asleep.
After about 10 days, the mating should be completed. A good sign of successful mating is a slightly larger abdomen on your female, meaning that it’s carrying small boa babies inside.
Note: They do not lay eggs (they’re live-bearing species), which can be a plus especially for beginners.
Your female during this period will try to get as much heat exposure as it can during this period, often hanging close to your heater, trying to get more warmth to her babies.
You may also notice an increase in appetite, especially during the last months of her pregnancy period. After a few months, your female will give birth to about ten to twenty small babies, which they should be separated and put in another container.
Feed them, one by one, small pinky mouse and let them slowly grow and develop into adult pets.
As for your mother boa, you can expect a post-ovulation shed, and she mist likely would not be too interested in eating after this period. She may also suffer some reduced weight loss, but give her a month or 2 to regain that back, and it’ll be okay.
At the end we hope you’d love this Kenyan Sand Boa care practical help.
OTHER F.A.Q(Kenyan Sand Boa Care)
- How Long Can Sand Boas Go Without Eating
They can go a year or longer without eating a meal. Their metabolism is much different than our own. I wouldn’t advice you not allow your snake go 12 months before a meal.
Kenyan Sand Boa Morphs
Most of the Kenyan sand boa morphs are simple recessive traits but the stripe is a mutation that is dominant. Nuclear Kenyan sand boa is the internationally accepted line bred mutation.
Are Kenyan sand boas good for beginners?
Yes, they are an excellent beginner snake, and if you like the idea of frequently handling your pet, this might be the perfect snake for you.
Can you keep Kenyan sand boas together?
Yes, you can keep them together with no problem, but separating them for feeding separately. However, I recommend one male and one female, or two females. Male Kenyan sand boas must not be housed together.
Are Kenyan sand boas venomous?
No, they’re a non-venomous snake breed that constricts to kill its meal! They’re ambush predators which mean that they lay in wait and strike their prey once close enough. In the wild, Kenyan sand boas eat nestlings, small lizards, and rodents such as the naked mole rat.
Do sand boas need a heat lamp?
No. They may not need it. However pregnant Kenyan Sand boas require it to warm their babies. Lightning is not important in their cage; ensure you maintain proper heat levels.
Conclusion on Kenyan Sand Boa care
With this Kenyan Sand Boa care sheet guide; you should be able to treat your snake with all the love they deserve. Share your experience with your snake.