Indian Sand Boa Care: Keeping the World’s Largest Sand Boa

Estimated read time 5 min read

The Indian Sand Boa (Eryx john ii john) is a “boa” in identify solely…in life-style and look it’s in a category all its personal. Being the largest and most docile of the world’s 12 sand boas, this fascinating snake is wanted by reptile lovers. Though no tougher to take care of than the Kenyan Sand Boa and its different popularly-kept kinfolk, Indian Sand Boas will not be generally seen in the US pet commerce and barely exhibited in zoos. Regardless of having spent a lifetime concerned in reptile care in zoos and museums, I’ve solely run throughout this engaging, attention-grabbing snake sporadically. Hopefully, extra non-public keepers will start working with it quickly. Please let me know of any curiosity or expertise you might have had by posting under…you might also see this snake bought below the names “Red Sand Boa” and “Two-Headed Sand Boa.”


To sand boa lovers accustomed to the modestly-sized species usually seen in the pet commerce, the Indian Sand Boa will appear impressively giant and stout. The cylindrically-shaped adults common two ft in size, though some might attain practically twice that dimension.

The small scales seem “polished” and are colored reddish-brown or yellow-tinged tan. Sure, people exhibit very stunning hues of those colors. However, all are engaging. The blunt tail carefully resembles the head… when threatened, the Indian Sand Boa tucks its head right into a protecting ball of coils and presents the tail to its attacker. As an adaptation to a life spent underfloor, the wedge-formed head serves as a “spade.”

Vary and Habitat

The Indian Sand Boa’s vary has not been well-studied. However, it’s identified to happen in western and southern India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and, presumably, Nepal. The Porsche Sand Boa (E. j. persicus) is restricted in vary with Iran. Eleven associated sand boa species are present in Africa, South Asia, and the Center East.

Arid, scrub-studded plains, semi-deserts, and rocky hillsides are the Indian Sand Boa’s most well-liked habitats. Life is spent below-ground, often simply beneath the floor, with the head partially uncovered.

The Terrarium

A single grownup could also be housed in a 20 to 30-gallon aquarium. Indian Sand Boas have to be supplied course sand and clean gravel wherein to burrow. These secretive snakes hardly ever thrive if compelled to shelter in caves – moderately, physique contact with the substrate is important. Nonetheless, some will stay beneath a bit of glass laid atop and partially lined by sand, which could also be simply noticed.


Indian Sand Boas do properly at an ambient temperature vary of 78-85 F. With a basking temperature of 90-95 F. As they hardly ever bask on the floor, a sub-tank heat pad must also be employed together with an incandescent bulb.

Normal Care

The Indian Sand Boa produces dry, compact waste merchandise in frequent with different snakes hailing from arid habitats. If droppings are eliminated frequently, there’s often no need to interrupt down and clear the complete terrarium.

As with the extra commonly-kept Kenyan Sand Boa (please see picture), Indian Sand Boas have to be stored dry due to pores and skin, and respiratory problems develop quickly in a damp environment. At all times, use heavy water bowls that can not be tipped over when the animal burrows. As different snakes are included in their weight loss program, Indian Sand Boas are finest housed alone and ought to be watched fastidiously when paired for breeding.

Eating regimen

Indian Sand Boas are highly specialized ambush predators that wait under the sand for gerbils and different rodents, lizards, and smaller snakes. To help with this searching technique, the eyes and nostrils are positioned excessively on the head, which is left partially uncovered when they’re searching. Captives will explode from the sand to grab mice moved about with a feeding tong…very spectacular, and all the time a shock to the uninitiated!

The jaws of the Indian Sand Boa will not be well-suited to swallowing giant meals. Apart from extra-large people, younger mice are preferable to adults as a meal supply. Kids ought to be fed as soon as weekly, whereas adults do high-quality with a meal every 10-14 days.


A brief interval of elevated humidity might encourage breeding. However, it appears not important.

The younger are born alive after a gestation interval of roughly four months. On account of their giant dimension (practically 1/three that of the mom) and distinctive coloration (orange with black rings), new child Indian Sand Boas command high costs.

Not like the younger of different sand boas, they’re giant sufficient to take pinkies and barely “demand” lizards as meals.


Whereas most different sand boa species turn out to be burdened when far away from their subterranean hideaways, Indian Sand Boas typically take brief durations of mild dealing with in stride. Nonetheless, the clean, shiny scales might render them troublesome to manage.

All sand boas have an ingrained feeding response that usually causes them to strike if touched whereas buried, so take care when approaching your pet or working in the terrarium.

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