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The Indian Sand Boa (Eryx johnii)
Smooth Sand Boa, Smooth-scaled Sand Boa, Brown Sand Boa, Red Sand Boa, John's Earth Snake, Two-headed Snake, Black Earth Boa
The Indian Sand Boa is the largest Sand Boa, occasionally reaching over 4 feet in length. They are slenderer than the Rough-scaled Sand Boa. Adults are uniform brown in color, varying from tan to dark blackish brown. Some adults can retain the orange coloration of neonates, as seen in the male in the above picture.
Babies, however, are orange with black bands (this
photograph is of a two month old baby). As they age, the orange fades and the body takes on its dark brown coloration. During this change they can be brown with scattered specks of orange, often with faint dark bands. Adults of the western subspecies (E. j. persicus - represented in the top photograph) retain the juvenile banding on the tail.
Indian Sand Boas occurs throughout the drier areas of India and east through Afghanistan, Pakistan and into southeastern Iran. It occurs on plains and other areas of flat clay soils. Like many of the other Sand Boas, it is not restricted to, nor typical of, sandy soils.
Indian Sand Boas in Captivity
The Indian Sand Boa is becoming increasingly popular in
captivity in the United States. This is due not only to the fact that the babies are very attractive, but also to the fact that
these are very personable snakes. They stay small and are very docile. They eat greedily in captivity and captive born babies are becoming more and more readily available each year. In the opinion of many Sand Boa keepers, this is the best species of Eryx to start with. They are more docile and predictable than the other species and newborn babies are big enough to take pinkie mice. Unfortunately, because the supply of captive born babies is limited and because the babies are so attractive, they command a higher price than other species.
Daniel, J.C. 1989. The Book of Indian Reptiles.
Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford University Press, Delhi.
Go on to the Desert and Black Sand Boas
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