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Kenyan Sand Boa Kenyan Sand Boa

 

Vivarium Viv-Exotic 24 inch VX24 or LX24 these come in three colours, Oak, Beech, Walnut
 
Lighting is for viewing so a PT-2131 Sun Glo Neodymium Daylight Basking Lamp R20/50Watt. Spot lamp Guard. The bulb needs a ceramic lamp holder such as the Komodo ceramic light fitting
 
Heating Use a Royce Heat Mat 10 x 12 inches this should be left on 24/7 as a background heat source. Combine this with a  Habistat Thermostat set at 88°F. Use a PT-2465 Exo-Terra Dial Thermometer or PT-2472 Digital Thermometer to monitor the Vivarium temperature. Place the heat mat at one end of the Vivarium giving a hot end and cooler end.
 
Substrate Kitchen paper or news paper for hatchlings up to yearlings to reduce impaction. Yearlings + Aspen or Calci sand deep enough to cover the snake as they love to dig under the substrate.

Name: Eryx colubrinus loveridgei



Classification
two valid subspecies are scientifically recognized G. c. colubrinus LINNAEUS 1758 and G. c. loveridgei STULL 1832, G. c. rufescens is a synonym of the latter. It was formerly considered as a part of the Eryx genus.
In the Gongylophis Genus ,the only boidae species from Europe is found :G. jaculus lives in Turkey and Caucasia ,and is CITES Annex I ,totally protected in his native area .All Gongylophis species are similar in size ,built ,behaviour and feeding habits .

Legal status:
These boas are CITES Annex II, thus requiring a CITES number mentioned on the purchase documents, if it is wild-caught or coming from “farming” in East Africa or outside EU .It is also in Annex B of the European Union regulations CE 338/97 and its directive CE 990/97 .When a captive-bred specimen is bought from the same country or inside EU, a mere purchasing bill is absolutely sufficient to prove the origin of the animals.

Location:
Savannah and near-desert areas in East Africa: Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, South of Sudan ...It is found in dry grasslands, sand dunes, rocky areas in which it can dig into the soil to hide from predators and feel secure. Sandy soils are preferred.

Description:
This is a very small-sized boa, adult males are hardly more than 18 inches long, and females may grow up to 30 inches in length, the latter being also much more thickset. As all members of the boa group, they have no heat-sensible dimples on the upper jaw. The eyes, contrary to most other snakes are mobile thus providing the Kenyan Sand Boa with a lively expressive gaze. The head is short, hardly distinct from the body; the lower jaw is slightly protruding and corner-shaped to enable the KSB to dig in loose soils such as sand.
This species usually spends most of the time buried in the sand, half an inch under the surface and it can vanish with an amazing speed when burrowing. The small eyes are well-protected by a transparent scale and fit for this lifestyle ,and usually the KSB is totally invisible in its surroundings ,eventually leaving a few millimetres of the snout over the surface .The mouth is quite small compared to the animal’s size and they scarcely attempt to bite ,the minute teeth usually cannot even pierce human skin .It is a “sit-and-wait” predator, most likely sensible to vibrations in the ground to be warned of the coming around of prey or predators .
The back coloration is black with yellow or orange blotches, some individuals have more black while others have a majority of yellow or orange. Both morphs seem to occur with the same frequency in the wild. For a few years now American and European breeders have produced albinos and leucistic morph, with more morphs becoming available now on the herp market. The belly scales are pure white.
This species is one of the more primitive of the boas and pythons family, spurs around the cloacae (vestigial limbs) are easily noticeable on males, but they exist on females too .It is a nocturnal species, only venturing out of his hide at night to forage for prey CB specimens are unaggressive and easy to manipulate, without doing this too often to avoid stress.
Sexing KSB is a bit difficult for inexperienced keepers, popping and probing may be used with the greatest of care better still get someone who knows what they are doing to do it for you.
 
 
Choosing a KSB: CB specimens are more and more common in the herp trade and much more advisable than WC, as the latter are systematically heavily infected with mites and internal parasites. They are a hardy and adaptable species .WC should be checked for internal parasites through a coprology test from a reptile vet and correctly treated.
 
 Housing:
Males can be housed in plastic vivarium (Pen-Pal or Critter boxes ) with a secure lid as they are prone to escape and you should not underestimate their ability to go through the slightest opening or their strength to force any insecurely fitted lid. Adult or near-adult females will rather be housed in wooden vivarium. Only the floor surface is important they are not good climbers and a 24 inch vivarium is adequate for an adult KSB
The substrate I prefer to use for adults is Aspen up to about 30-35mm deep or calci sand or preferably playpen sand .They require a dry environment ,so small water bowl at the cool end of the vivarium will suffice, or a small moss box for shedding and egg-laying filled with moist vermiculite or moist sphagnum moss.
A heat mat which fits half the floor area should be fitted to the floor of the vivarium and connected to a thermostat ,so as to provide a basking spot with 30-35°C /86-95°F ,and the cool end should be in the low 80s /25-27°C during the day .If these temperatures are not reached ,then the use of a small ,low wattage “moonlight” or “infrared” bulb is recommended ,do not use “daylight blue” or UV spots ,these snakes shun bright light .At night ,all the heating aggregates are switched off to lower to the 18-20°C/ 70s °F .Artificial lighting is absolutely useless for previously stated reasons .Indirect natural daylight is the best way to provide them with a good night-and-day rhythm .

The settings should be simple and easy to spot clean :flat rocks are appreciated by the KSB which love to be covered by something a little heavy ,or as an alternative ,Plexiglas small panes with smooth edges can be used to display the boas while crawling in the sand .An emptied coconut shell or a piece of cork oak bark makes up a shelter ,there shall be 2 such hides on each end ,cool and hot .At least one of the hides should be slightly moist ,as previously stated .No branches nor plants ,natural or plastic ,are necessary .

Daily tasks are renewing the clean water supply (these snakes often drink at night), checking for urates and dejections which are tiny and dry and often buried in the sand by using fingers or a small net.

Feeding :
Few data exist about their prey types in the wild .Tiny hatchling boas could possibly have a partly insectivorous diet ,no baby rodent being small enough for their tiny mouths .Under 8 inches ,they are fed with bits of thawed baby mice ;the latter are kept while still frosted in lukewarm water for a few minutes .All sand boas should be fed either out of the viv or on one of the flat rocks of the vivarium to prevent them from impaction risks as they are likely to swallow amounts of sand which sticks to prey otherwise .

At 8-11 inches ,baby mice are cut in two bits to be fed to the snakes .Until this moment ,the feeding frequency is a meal every 3 days ,the hatchlings being given the equivalent of half a baby “pinkie” mouse ,8-11 inches juveniles a full pinkie in two bits ,and over 12 inches long they should be fed with entire prey every 5 days .Females above 18 inches long can be fed with a weekly fuzzy mouse ,and from 25 inches they can be fed with hoppers .

CB KSB accept dead thawed prey without hesitating ,as long as they are a bit annoyed with the prey ,using tweezers to gently move them to their tail tip and snout .Feeding them regularly is really not a problem .WC may be more difficult to settle to thawed prey .

Usually they have a resting period which can be simulated in captivity by progressively decreasing day temperatures of 5°C/approx. 8°F between December until the beginning of March .During this period, they usually do not eat at all .Brumation should go with a previous stop in feeding to avoid digestive intoxications, as their intestinal flora will be less efficient, if not inactive, during this time .Brumation is also a triggering factor for breeding.

Breeding :
Individuals should be housed separately from each other and only put together for a short period of time (1-2 weeks) in May or June .Taking into account the size difference between both genders, longer periods may be a little risky .As soon as 2 or 3 mating are witnessed ,every individual should be put back in its own vivarium .KSB are ovoviviparous ,and after 3 to 4 months the females will give birth to already well-formed young’s ,from 6 to 20 according to the size ,feeding frequency and health of the female ;a pre-birth shed always occurs approx. 8-15 days before giving birth to live young’s ,and they usually stop eating at this moment .After birth ,females should be fed more often and with slightly larger prey items to recover from the pregnancy .The young have often paler hues than the adults ,and they are about 6 inches long .They should be housed individually in small plastic vivarium .

Conclusion :
KSB is still a little pricey (€100-150 for CB young in France ) but this is an interesting and beautiful species which will undoubtedly have an increasing success in the next future years .Their care and breeding is very easy ,making them accessible to newbie’s in the herp hobby ,and are unaggressive, pleasant pets .Some will say their small size and burrowing habits are drawbacks ,but from others’ points of view it can also be decisive good points for the conquest of the herp market .
 

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