Kenyan Sand Boa
Scientific Name: Eryx colubrinus
Size: Females - 26 to 32 inches in length; Males up to 15 inches in length
IUCN Red List Status: Unknown
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Found in East Africa, Egypt south to Tanzania, and southwest Somalia west to Kenya in semi-arid desert regions, scrub savannahs, and rock outcroppings.
The Kenyan sand boa spends most of its life buried in the sand where it is invisible. It will also hide under stones and in the burrows of other animals.
Because of the desert heat, it is not active during the midday heat,
only emerging early in the morning and in the evening to search for
food. It seizes its prey and suffocates it between the coils of its
body, only relaxing its embrace when the animal stops breathing. It then
swallows its victim whole, without chewing, in the same way as other
snakes. This snake is considered a docile species and rarely strikes or bites.
In fact when threatened, it buries itself quickly and carefully in soft
ground, usually sand.
Sand boas eat mainly rodents, such as mole rats and lizards. Their main predator is the desert monitor lizard.
- When food is scarce, sand boas may live over a year without any food at all.
- Sand boas are some of the smallest boa species on Earth.
- The Kenyan sand boa typically hunts by lying in wait under sand and ambushing passing prey.
- It has been known to kill small prey by dragging it under the sand to suffocate it.
- The male Kenyan sand boa may have to dig the female out of the sand before mating can occur.