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Kenyan Sand Boa Care

Updated on October 5, 2011

Kenyan sand boas are a great species of snake to keep. They are a burrowing species which isn't commonly seen in the pet snake trade. Kenyan sand boas are a fairly undemanding snake and can be kept quite successfully if their basic needs are met. I would rate Kenyan sand boas a 7 out of 10 for a beginner snake species. They do not make a very nice display animal since they will likely be buried under their substrate more often then not. As babies, they are also prone to being very squirmy and jumpy. Bites are rare, but they do happen.

The Enclosure

Kenyan sand boas are very easy to house. Basically all you'll need is a secure, escape-proof container, the correct substrate and a small water bowl. They do not need any branches, hides, etc like many other snakes require. Below is a list of the basic supplies you'll need to keep your Kenyan healthy and happy.

  • 10 gallon aquarium for babies to adult males. 20 gallon long aquarium for adult females.
  • Tight fitting lid for the above enclosure
  • Coconut husk, shavings (no cedar or pine), or any other safe substrate
  • Heat pad
  • Thermostat
  • Thermometer
  • Shallow water dish
  • Hemostats for feeding

I recommend using plastic storage tubs as the housing. Make sure you put plenty of ventilation in your tub to get rid of any humidity. If you aren't using a rack and your tub lid isn't secure enough, you can use binder clips to clamp the sides down. Coconut husk and shavings are said to be the safest substrates. However, some people use sand for years without problems. It really is a personal opinion. Which ever way you go, please do the proper research and always put your snake's safety above your own aesthetic desires.

As for heating, use a heat pad on one side of the enclosure. Your heat pad should ideally cover 1/3 of the cage, and never more than 1/2. Use a thermostat to avoid electrical issues or overheating your snake. The hot side of the tank should be 90-95F while the cool side should be around 75F.

Feeding

Kenyan sand boas can eat mice for their entire life. Baby Kenyans should be start on pinkie mice, and as they grow you will need to increase the prey size. Feed your baby Kenyan every 5-7 days for healthy growth. Larger boas can eventually be fed adult mice, though rats are a better option.

I only recommend feeding frozen/thawed prey or prekilled items. Use hemostats to grasp the prey item to place it into the enclosure. You can wiggle the a bit to get your snake's attention if he or she isn't used to prekilled food. Kenyan sand boas are ambush predators, and will suddenly pop out of the sand and grab the prey item. Using hemostat ensures that if they happen to strike as your putting the mouse in, your snake doesn't accidentally grab your hand.

These are the absolute basics of how to care for a Kenyan sand boa. More advanced hubs regarding breeding, baby care, adult care, and DIY enclosure set up will be coming soon!

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