Kenyan sand boas (Gongylophis colubrinus) are a somewhat smaller constrictor native to the deserts of Kenya and northeast Africa. As pets, they make for docile companions that are tolerant of human handling. However, if you have heard of boas before, you may have been told tales of huge reptiles that are larger than humans. Thankfully, not all boas are the same. To clear up any misconceptions, we will examine how large these snakes truly get. From there, we’ll examine how to best accommodate for their size and care for them.
How Big Do Sand Boas Get
The Kenyan sand boa happens to be one of the smallest boas in the world, growing from around 15-32 inches. Even as adults, they will only grow to be around 2 pounds. As hatchlings, they are naturally much smaller at only around 8-10 inches. This is in contrast to the red tail boa, which can be around 20 inches at birth and grow to around 10 feet.
They spend most of their time burrowing underground through the desert sands in search of food, water, and shelter. While their size is useful for stealthily sneaking up on prey and hiding in tight places, it does make them vulnerable to larger predators. However, this does make them an excellent choice for regular pet owners. Especially those who may be concerned about the space needs of their reptile’s enclosure. They are also notoriously easy to handle and transport.
Due to their size, they also make an excellent choice of pet for small apartments and other space-sensitive living situations. They also make minimal noise, and won’t be destructive toward anything in your home.
Males VS Females
Unlike many snakes, Kenyan sand boas display some sexual dimorphism. This simply means that there are physiological differences between the sexes that can differentiate the two. One of the easiest ways to distinguish between specimens is that females are generally larger than males. The ladies generally grow to about 32 inches while males stay at a more petite 15. Males also have longer and rounder tails, while the females have fatter but shorter and stubbier ones. While the experience of owning a sand boa will be the same regardless of sex, the fact that they reach different sizes could make you lean one way or the other.
Sand Boa Enclosure
One of the benefits of owning a smaller boa is being able to house it in a manageable enclosure. A baby Kenyan sand boa for sale can live in a 10-gallon enclosure. However, they may need to be moved up to a 15-20 gallon enclosure as they grow. As these are burrowing animals, you don’t need to provide any climbing toys such as vines. Simply make sure that they have plenty of substrate to dig through. This should be around six inches or enough to where they can hide and curl up in. You may even be able to see them creating burrows through their substrate.
If you are looking for supplies for a new hatchling snake but don’t know where to start we would advise checking out 10 gallon snake starter kits. This will give you everything you need to set up an appropriate enclosure for your new snake.
Sand Boa Feeding
Despite the smaller size of the sand boa, they will need to be fed in much the same way as a snake of a similar or larger size. This means feeding an appropriately sized prey item approximately three times a month. As with most snakes, this will usually be a mouse or small rat. Keep in mind that you may need to seek out food items that correspond with their smaller size. To determine if a food item is a good size for your snake, simply check to see if it’s around the size of the thickest part of your pet. If it’s larger than that, it may be a bit too big.
Note: Sand boas are occasionally picky eaters. If your snake refuses a meal or two, there is little cause for concern. However, if your snake is constantly turning down food (or not digesting/ regurgitating it back up), you may need to get it examined by the vet.
Kenyan sand boas for sale make excellent, manageable pets with their manageable size and stellar temperaments. If you yourself are looking for a “beginner-friendly” reptile to own, this may just be your best bet. Once you have their setup ready, you will have relatively little to worry about aside from regular maintenance of their vivarium.