return to main index

  mobile - desktop
follow us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on YouTube link to us on LinkedIn
click here for Rodent Pro
This Space Available
3 months for $50.00
Locate a business by name: click to list your business
search the classifieds. buy an account
events by zip code list an event
Search the forums             Search in:
News & Events: Herp Photo of the Day: Kingsnake . . . . . . . . . .  Herp Photo of the Day: Rainbow Boa . . . . . . . . . .  All Maryland Reptile Show - June 03, 2023 . . . . . . . . . .  Northern Virginia Reptile Show - June 17, 2023 . . . . . . . . . .  All Maryland Reptile Show - July 08, 2023 . . . . . . . . . .  York County Reptile Show - July 09, 2023 . . . . . . . . . .  Richmond Reptile Expo - July 15, 2023 . . . . . . . . . .  East Coast Reptile Super Expo - July15, 2023 . . . . . . . . . .  Western Maryland Reptile Show - July 29, 2023 . . . . . . . . . .  All Maryland Reptile Show - Aug. 12 2023 . . . . . . . . . .  Northern Virginia Reptile Show - Aug. 26, 2023 . . . . . . . . . .  All Maryland Reptile Show - Sept. 09 2023 . . . . . . . . . . 

Choosing a Sand Boa

There are two questions to answer in choosing a sand boa:

  • Wild-caught or captive born
  • Which species is right for me?

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:

  • Coloration
  • while beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder, some species have brighter colors than others
  • Temperament
  • Some species are always docile
    others are more unpredictable and prone to individual "personality quirks"
  • Female Size
  • I include here the average size of an adult female. Males are usually much smaller
  • Feeding
  • what the adults will eat in captivity
  • Feeding Newborns
  • what newborns will eat in captivity and how easy it is to get them started
  • Availability
  • availability of captive born snakes here in the US
  • Price
  • general price range for captive born babies in the USA
    low = US$75 or less
    medium = US$76 to US$124
    high = US$125 and higher

The following table is intended to compare these characteristics for each species of snake covered on this page.
Species Color Temperament Female Size Feeding feeding newborns availability price
colubrinus black on orange/yellow usually docile- a few are snappy 30 inches mice pink mice - easy abundant low
conicus gray/yellow/brown docile to snappy 30 inches mice pink mice - easy common low
elegans gray/white unknown 18 inches fuzzy mice unknown none? ???
jaculus brown on tan usually docile 24 inches fuzzy mice pink mice -tricky uncommon low
jayakari black on orange/yellow docile 16 inches pinkies small lizards? uncommon high
johnii brown docile 40+ inches mice or small rats pink mice - easy common medium
miliaris brown on tan docile (aggressive feeding response) 30 inches hopper mice pink mice - fair uncommon low
muelleri black on orange/yellow docile 24 inches fuzzy mice   limited high
somalicus brown on tan unknown unknown unknown unknown none ???
tataricus brown on tan usually docile 40 inches mice or small rats pink mice -fair uncommon low
Lichanura brown/pink/orange on white/gray docile 40 + inches mice + pink mice -easy abundant low to high
Charina brown docile 30 inches small mice pink mice -fair uncommon low to medium
Calabaria pink on brown docile 40 inches small mice or rats pink mice -easy rare high

Back to the Sand Boa Page

Chris Harrison
September 1999
Sponsored Link
Click here for LLL Reptile & Supply
advertise here

New & Updated Business Listings
Looking for a reptile or amphibian related business? A reptile store, breeder, importer, maunfacturer or supplier? Our business directory lists some of the most popluar herp businesses in the world.
Locate a reptile or amphibian business by name:
• Xtreme Exotics
• Mouse Works LLC
• Zeigler Animal Feeds
• Tampa Snakes - Carpet Pytho...
• The Big Cheese Rodent Facto...
• Reptiles at the York Expo
• York County Reptile Show
• LLLReptile and Supply Las V...
• Eublah Exotics
• Northwest Zoological Supply
• Northwest Zoological Supply
• Magellan Explorer
• Tampa Snakes - Carpet Pytho...
• Zeigler Animal Feeds
• Mark Kennedy Reptiles
• Mouse Works LLC
• California Zoological Suppl...
• Helix Controls Inc.
• LLLReptile and Supply San D...
list your business on

Banner Pool
Layne Labs - Natural Diets for Pets & Wildlife
$100.year special flat rate banner! - click for info