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Kenyan Sand Boa

Gongylophis colubrinus


Boidae, the boa family.

Conservation Status:



Northern and eastern Africa.


Sandy deserts and plains.


Their nostrils are located on the sides of their heads which allows them to breathe while buried in the sand, into which they can disappear without burrowing tunnels.

These boas have stout, muscular bodies with short, blunt tails, blunt, wedge-shaped heads covered with small scales, and small eyes. They are orange or yellow with chocolate brown to black markings and white or cream bellies. Females are larger and stockier than males. Related to rosy boas, they are one of the most colorful of the species.

Somewhat docile in temperament, they spend most of their life just beneath the surface of the sand, seeking animal dens only during the cool season.

Their diet consists of lizards, other snakes, insects, small rodents and birds which they ambush from beneath the sand and kill by constriction.

They are taken by larger snakes, birds of prey, small cats, jackals and desert monitor lizards.
These boas mature at 2-3 years and are ovoviviparous which simply means that their young develop inside sacs within females and 5-12 offspring hatch live after a period of 4 months. Throughout this time they receive no nourishment from her.

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