9 Reasons Kenyan Sand Boas make the Best Pets | Are Sand Boas Good Pets?
1. Low maintenance setups.
Kenyan Sand Boas are from very dry and arid places, so they need very low humidity in their enclosures. People have personal preferences in terms of tropical, moderate, or dry desert setups, however generally speaking, unless you’re in an area with very high humidity naturally, it’s easier to maintain the dry variations. For example, in an area such as North Carolina where the humidity ranges between 25% and 50% or so, there’s really nothing extra that needs to be done for the sand boa’s enclosure. The sand boas are adapted to shed in those environments normally, so there’s no need to raise the humidity like you might need to for a ball python or other types of boas.
2. Small size.
Kenyan Sand Boas grow to around 3 feet (a bit smaller if a male) so it’s a relatively small snake. They are probably the smallest of the beginner snakes out there, so if you're looking for something that uses up minimal space, eats small prey, and is very manageable for handling, this isn't a bad choice. Not sure what supplies you need? Get started with the GoHerping sand boa kit.
3. Unique species.
Kenyan Sand Boas can be found without too much difficulty and there is a lot of information on them. At the same time they are not as common as some other reptiles, such as ball pythons or corn snakes. So, if you want something that is simple to care for, yet a little more unique, that’s where sand boas currently fall. In a few years this could shift, but right now, ball pythons and corn snakes are more popular by far. There are certainly easily accessible communities for sand boas online, as well as resources for them, but it’s not one of the mainstream species that you'll see everywhere.
4. Multiple morphs.
There are multiple morphs of Kenyan Sand Boas available. From Anerythristic (black, or grey and white) to Albino Paradox (black spotting), Hypomelanistic (brown/black), and Splash (aberrant patterns) are some examples. So, in addition to the unique species of snake, you can also have a cool morph. Of course, the rarer the morph, they more expensive they tend to be.
5. Unique body shape.
In addition to their striking colors, Kenyan Sand Boas have a “weird,” unique body shape. Although the tail tends to be a little more pointed, it looks very similar to the head. Sometimes you may just have to see which end the tongue comes out of! Overall, sand boas are really chunky, round snakes with "crinkly" scales in the back with smooth scales in the front, and an odd-looking face. They don’t really compare to other snakes.
6. Live birth.
Although true of many boas, the fact that Kenyan Sand Boas give birth to live young is a positive characteristic, particularly for those thinking about breeding. With live births, sand boas just breed, develop, and birth them, with no eggs or incubation period. This is unlike colubrids, pythons, and other egg-laying snakes, which then need to be incubated for quite a long time. This is a process that can be expensive and not without risk, possibly resulting in eggs that can dry out, rot and die. Of course, there is no guarantee that all snakes born live will survive, but the fact that the sand boas incubate the babies in their bodies cuts out a lot of the work and expense for the breeders.
7. Ambush eaters.
Although not necessarily a benefit, it is interesting that Kenyan Sand Boas mimic a mousetrap when they eat. They don’t move, seek out, or follow their prey. Rather they sit perfectly still waiting for it to come to them. As soon as the prey touches them, they immediately ambush (grab and eat) the animal. This is yet another unique characteristic of the sand boa.
8. Easy to handle.
Kenyan Sand Boas are burrowers, so they like to be low down and hidden. Yet, at the same time they are slow and easy to hold on to. Although a juvenile corn snake is manageable, they can be fast and slip out of your hands, while sand boas tend to “chill out” and be very slow in comparison (and love to sit in hoodie pockets!)
9. Never need to switch prey.
Because Kenyan Sand Boas are so small, they aren’t going to outgrow mice as their food source. Although they can eat smaller rats if you choose, they can also usually stick to the larger mice and not have to switch over to larger rodents, which can often be a difficult task.