Kenyan sand boa wont eat

My wife took my step son to a local repticon and came home w a male Kenyan sand boa we have had him for a month or so, keeping him on about 2.5" of vitasand w heating pad on thermostat. I know nothing about these snakes but have a few ball pythons and a retic that are thriving. I cant seem to get the little boa to eat. Ive tried frozen thawed and live fuzzies, put him in a separate empty cage to feed, put him in the dark, put him in a much smaller Tupperware in the dark. I dont want to assist feed but I’m running out of options. He’s at ambient temp of 92° (on average) during the day on warm side and 78° on the cold side. I’ve also put his feeding cage inside his regular enclosure to regulate temp with no luck. Please help.

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Assisting is for animals that do not know how to feed or if their is a real need, considering the size (unless you have extremely small hands) your snake will be fine.

Male tend to be a bit more picky and this time of the year not feeding for a male that size is not unusual.

The best thing to do is feed in the enclosure, limit handling, and offer the same type prey offered previously and more importantly be patient.

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I second everything that @stewart_reptiles has said. I also recommend switching from vitasand to plain aquarium sand. Vitasand can be dusty, and last a checked can cause pretty bad problems if ingested. Put your snake on all natural sand that you would use for fish. Though I will say aspen shavings are probably safer since they would be harder to ingest, but if you go that route I recommend actual shavings, not chips since they can be really dusty. Try the zoo med brand of aspen if you want to go that route. Also, can I see pictures of your setup?

Yup we’ve got a boy that’s been on a two month strike right now. It’s breeding time and if your boy is an adult he’s got ladies on the mind.

Just keep an eye on his weight, we are weighing our boy weekly, and every 2 weeks offer a food item. We personally feed all our Sands outside of their tank but we “bury” them in their substrate (air holes of small container clear). And we always feed at night.

If you cant get your hands on a kitchen scale just watch for your boy to look “deflated”. Sands tend to sorta… Well… Deflate and just seem more baggy or less round than if they are healthy. At any sign of a drastic amount of weight loss then you should go find a vet.

Above all else don’t lose your patience and cool! Eventually he will eat. Just gotta battle hormones.

That’s actually a Saharan sand boa, not a Kenyan.


I thought it looked a bit off compared to what I normally see.

Thanks I have had pythons for a few years and never had one go very long but I dont know anything about this dude other than what my wife was told when she bought it and what I’ve read and trusting the internet info is sketchy.

Thank you for the info greatly appreciated he still looks like an over packed sausage link just wanted to make sure everything I was do9kg was right. Do you recommend aspen also? They sold her everything they said he needed at repticon… My pythons are all on coconut but obviously these guys are a lot different and I want him to stay as happy and healthy as them.

currently in a 20 tall

So for my sand boas I don’t offer water except once a week when I give them a short soak in some warm water (another breeder gave that information) and my boys are in 10 gallon tanks with just under half filled with chipped bedding. I also give a hide similar to the one you are using as well we a few other options to help with shedding when the time comes.

This is the bedding I use in general. Several different brands can be had.

IMO, it’s a bad idea to keep sand boas without water. I don’t understand what the drawback would be to offering any pet a constant source of water. I read in a previous post of yours that your sand boas have had shedding issues. This is probably why. I would never advise anyone to not keep water with any pet.

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@chaoticcolubrid Have had shedding problems with or without water. The shedding problems actually started when we still included a bowl for them. A breeder of them I know says they don’t have water in their tubs but instead does a weekly soak.

That being said after months of doing the no water bowl in the tank/tub thing we haven’t noticed a true difference in shedding and for our biggest boy added his water bowl back.

Weekly soaks are unnecessary, unnatural and stressful. You should be able to get good sheds without them. What substrate are you using?

As far as water goes, there is no harm in providing water to sand boas 24/7 but (if your animals are shedding properly) it is not harmful for them to be watered only periodically. I used to keep my animals without water but now provide water 24/7. It definitely does have an effect on their sheds.

@westridge Substrate is Repti chip bedding. Heat at hot end on 90. Water bowl is on the far end and is sorta half buried in the substrate. Substrate itself is several inches deep but I do provide lots of hard or uneven surfaces also half buried through the tank/tub to provide shedding help.

Specifically the shedding problems are 100% retained eye caps. Seems like once they reach a certain size the problems start. Despite a weekly soak, with water in tank, without it, still eye caps retained. Everything else sheds usually in one or two big chunks with head part coming off seperately.