Eryx Colubrinus Loveridgei
Hello snake keepers.
I would like to introduce to you Eryx Colubrinus Loveridgei, the Kenyan Sand Boa. Currently I have a breeding couple and I hope to produce some babies this year. This species is native to Africa and is a representative of the Boidae. As you can already tell from the name the natural occurrence of this species is mostly in Kenya and Egypt.
Appearance and size
These sand boas have bright colors and are really nice to look at. The back is dark brow to black with a shiny orange pattern. The belly is white and provides an interesting contrast to the dark back. These snakes are perfect as pets also for beginners as they stay rather small in size even when thy are adults. The maximum size of females is approximately 80cm, the males tent to stay much smaller. My adult male is 25cm long and already 5 tears old. This kind of difference is called sexual dimorphism and is a way how to determine the gender of your snakes. The body is chubby with a short tail. The head is small and surprisingly flexible when it comes to swallowing their prey. The eyes are rather on the top of the head which enables them to attack from an ambush.
The Kenyan sand boas are very placid animals when out of the enclosure. On the other hand they tend to follow their natural instinct and when you try to pick then up from the sand they might bite as they may mistaken you for prey. Usually they lay hidden in the sand or other betting you might use and only the top of the head is hardly visible. They move slowly, which seem to be almost like they would think about every movement they make. Even-though they are able to strike in a flash when they hunt for prey. The mating is very interesting. As the snakes spend most of the time burrowed, the male first needs to unburrow the female even when she is more then triple his weight. When this was successful they start mating, I suppose this is only possible when the female is also ready, otherwise I can not image how the in comparison tiny male would be able to unburrow her. What I especially like about them , that they seem to be very gentle and peaceful. Due to this temper, they can be simply kept together in couples or small groups.
They are really patient and wait for the prey to approach them. They accept a huge variety of food items and are everything else then picky. Once you start feeding them they seem not to stop. therefore it is necessary not to overfeed as they have a tendency to obesity like all Boas. My adults happily accept adult mice.
All Eryx are quite easy to keep as pets as they only have minimal requirements on the environment. The Eryx Colubrinus Loveridgei is very happy to have a higher level of bedding as they will burrow almost immediately after introduced to the terrarium. I personally use white sand (available in pet stores) in a height of 10cm. The enclosure size for a couple should be at least 80cm x 40cm x 40cm. The height of the tank is not too important, but when given the opportunity thee snakes will also use the branches to climb. Humidity is absolutely not important, don't spray the tank as it is fully sufficient to have a small size water bowl in the tank. Pay attention to the temperature. A hot spot with approximately 30-35C should be provided.
Breeding and Husbandry
To determine the gender at this species is kind of easy, therefore you should not have problem to acquire a couple. The snakes usually reach maturity at an age of 2, my personal experience is that they wont mate until at least the age of 4 years. Once started the breeding season they will copulated multiple times, always during the night when it is dark and they feel safe to be unburrowed. the Kenyan sand boa gives birth to life babies and therefore does not lay eggs. This makes it simpler for beginners to breed them as you don't need an incubator for incubating the eggs. The pregnancy lasts approximately 2-3 months and there are usually 4-15 babies. Even when they are really small they are able to feed on pinkie mice immediately and are really frenzy eaters.
The Kenyan Sand Boa is a small gentle and beautiful animal which does not require too many experience in keeping snakes. I can recommend them to everyone who is interested in the snake keeping hobby and just highlight their great temper and interesting appearance.