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Choosing a Sand Boa
There are two questions to answer in choosing a sand boa:
Wild-caught vs. Captive Born
The first issue when choosing a Sand Boa (or any other herp) is whether to get a captive born baby or a wild caught adult or subadult. Aside from the personality issues (wild caught snakes can have unpredictable temperaments) there is the issue of general overall health. You can usually assume a captive born snake will be free of parasites, scars, and diseases. This assumption cannot be made about wild caught animals.
Another argument made for buying wild caught adults or subadults is that you don't have to wait for them to grow up to breed them and you will get offspring sooner. This is NOT true. Most people experienced with Boid snakes have found that it usually takes 4-5 years for a captive import to settle down to be a predictable breeder. In that period, you can raise and breed a captive born snake. The following figure illustrates this point.
These are the monthly weights of two pairs of Eryx miliaris. One pair was captive born and the other were imported as subadults. The sharp dips in the weights of the captive born female represent births. The wild caught snakes never did reproduce during this three and one-half year period. The flat line at the beginning of the graph represents the difficulty I had getting these cb snakes to eat at first. Once they started however, you can see how quickly they grew. Notice also that the males did not grow significantly after reaching sexual maturity. For more information on the differences in growth rates, see the breeding page.
Which species is right for me?
I answer a lot of email from people wanting to know which species of Sand Boa would be the best for them to start out with. My answer is always that it depends on a lot of different things. The table further down this page compares erycine species for the following important considerations:
The following table is intended to compare these characteristics for each species of snake covered on this page.
© Chris Harrison
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