Red sand boa (Eryx Johnii)

As a native of the sub-continent, the red sand boa can be found across the country except on the islands and the states beyond north Bengal. This meek snake is also endemic to Iran and Pakistan.

HABITAT: It flourishes in semi-desert plains, rocky scrub plains and dry foothills. Preferring loose sand or crumbling soil, the red sand boa is a burrower that lives most of its life underground.

While herping, one can encounter the red sand boa in gardens, agricultural areas, desolate and abandoned areas of land that has sandy soil, cracked earth, mounds, rat holes, brick and rock piles.

BIOLOGY: This nocturnal snake is fesurial(a burrower). Everything from it’s cylindrical body shape, blunt and truncated head + tail and tough, shovel shaped face are all adaptations to a life of burrowing. Yet another adaptation are its small eyes as the snake is active at night and in soil, not requiring excellent eyesight in order to survive.

The red sand boa’s colour is uniform and darker in adults. Their colouring ranges from reddish brown to reddish black, chocolate brown and just plain brown. Juveniles have a banded pattern that is more prominent.

BEHAVIOR: The snake uses its blunt appearance to its advantage. When threatened, it coils and raises its tail as if it were the head, to confuse the predator.

DIET: The red sand boa consumes a variety of mammals, some feeding exclusively on other snakes. They are known to use the method of constriction implying that they paralyze their prey by tightly coiling their body around it and effectively strangling or suffocating it to death.

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