Kenyan Sand Boa, Eryx colubrinus

Origin: Eastern Africa

Size: Less than 3ft

Lifespan: 20-30+ years

Basking Temperature: 90 degrees

Cool End Temperature: 80-85 degrees

Humidity: 30-50%

Substrate: Aspen or crushed walnut shell. NEVER USE REAL SAND.

Baby enclosure size: 10” x 8” x 6” – 12″ x 10″ x 8″

Adult enclosure size: 24” x 12” x 12”

Difficulty: Novice

The Kenyan sand boa is a small, stocky snake from Eastern Africa. Its unusual shovel-shaped head and bold pattern are unmistakable. Kenyan sand boas make an excellent choice of pet snake even for novice keepers.

This guide is a brief overview of basic care and minimum husbandry requirements and is not intended as a comprehensive guide to sand boa care. Our best advice:

Read, read, read! Studying about your new pet is the key to a long and happy life for them, and years of enjoyment for you.


Enclosures for sand boas must be long enough for the boa to stretch out fully and exercise. Upgrade your sand boa’s enclosure any time they are no longer able to stretch out.  A hide is not required as they will spend most of their time burrowing.


Aspen or crushed walnut shell make excellent substrates for sand boas as both allow them to burrow readily. Crushed walnut shell will allow you to experience their burrowing nature in a more natural way. Never use real sand or calcium sand.


Provide a basking spot at one end regulated to 90 degrees. A dome light with a ceramic heat emitter is preferable. Use a thermostat to regulate the temperature with the probe secured directly in the basing spot. Do not guess! Do not use only a thermometer. Overheating can be quickly fatal for your new pet. Night drops in temperature are not required. Sand boas do not generally require a UV light, but may benefit from one.


Humidity should be maintained at 30-50%. Place a good quality hygrostat in your sand boas enclosure to monitor humidity. Mold on bedding is a strong sign that the humidity is too high.


Provide your boa with a non-porous water bowl and change it frequently. Snakes frequently defecate in their water bowl, so frequent disinfection is essential. We recommend F10 Veterinary Disinfectant or original (yellow) Listerine diluted to 10% with water.


Sand boas are generally docile snakes and will often simply lie limp in their handlers hands. Support your boa’s body when handling. Your sand boa may dangle some, which is fine, provided they are not shaken or moved quickly. Children should always be supervised when handling snakes. Do not handle them while they are in shed or right after meals.


Allow your new snake at least a week to adjust to its new habitat before feeding. Mortal Coil Serpentry supports feeding frozen feeders. Your new pet is already feeding on frozen thawed. Live feeding is not recommended. Warm frozen prey to a natural body temperature (~90 degrees). Do not feed your snake from your fingers. Present prey with tongs, holding it by the base of the tail, and wiggle gently in front of the snake. Do not handle for at least 24 hours after feeding. Young boas do best on mice, but should be transitioned to rats by the time they are big enough to eat large mice.

Hatchlings to 1 year:

1 rodent the approximate girth of the snake once per week. Mice and African Soft Furs are ideal for sand boas.

1-2 years:

1 rodent the approximate girth of the snake once every 2 weeks.

2 years and up:

1 rodent the approximate girth of the snake once every 3-4 weeks. 

The correct body shape for a sand boa is round, but care should be taken to avoid obesity.