STATUS IN THE WILD: Least Concern
PHYSICAL FEATURES AND CHARACTERISTICS
Kenyan sand boas are some of the smallest boa species on earth with females reaching just over two feet and males rarely exceeding 20 inches. In the wild, they are a dark brown and orange in color but can be found in variations from yellow to white. They have very small, fine scales that help prevent sand from getting under them. Their heads and their tails both have a rounded shape, and the scales on their tail face backward to imitate the head. This is to confuse both predators and prey.
LIFESTYLE AND REPRODUCTION
They spend much of their time buried under sand, loose soil, and rocks with just the tips of their head exposed. This not only helps them keep cool during hot days but also allows them to be excellent ambush predators. They emerge early in the morning and late in the evening to search for food and tend to avoid the midday heat. Should they encounter any potential danger, they quickly bury themselves in sand or whatever substrate they are currently in.
Sand boas typically reach sexual maturity at the age of two or three years old. However, if a male is big enough, he may father a litter as early as six months old. Mating usually occurs from March through May. Sand boas are ovoviviparous, meaning the female incubates the eggs internally. She does this for six to eight months before releasing 15 to 20 live young.
These boas are found in northern Africa from Egypt as far west as Niger, including Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, and northern Tanzania.
They inhabit scrub savannahs, deserts, and rocky outcroppings. They prefer sandy and loose soils.
They eat any small mammals that happen to pass by.