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Kenyan sand boa, Gongylophis colubrinus

The Kenyan sand boa (Gongylophis colubrinus) is a boa snake and a member of the Boidae family. This species may also be referred to as the Egyptian sand boa, the Kenyan sand boa, the East African sand boa, and simply, the Sand boa.

The sand boa is commonly found in northern Africa from Egypt and as far west as Niger. The snake’s terrain ranges from Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, and northern Tanzania and inhabits semi-desert and rocky areas. Most of the Kenyan sand boa’s life is spent burrowed under the sandy soil and in cracks and crevices of the rocks and boulders. Interesting adaptations, such as the shape and opening of its mouth prevent the snake from ingesting soil while digging.

Among the smallest of the boa species in the world, the Kenyan sand boa rarely measures longer than 3 feet. Male sand boas are known to be significantly shorter and more slender than adult female sand boas. The species has a yellow or orange coloration with dark brown or black spots though colors may vary greatly in captive bred Kenyan sand boas.

The Kenyan sand boa hunts and kills using the constriction method. Feeding mostly on small mammals the snake uses the sit and wait approach and strikes swiftly when its prey unknowingly wanders into its hiding grounds.

The Kenyan sand boa is viviparous, giving live birth. Gestation and live birth explain the larger size of adult female snakes in the species. It is common to see between 10-20 babies born at a time.

Image Caption: Kenyan sand boa. Credit: Viki/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Kenyan sand boa Gongylophis colubrinus


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