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Q: Sand boa not eating
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So I adopted a subadult Kenyan sand boa from a local rescue on January 9th this year. While the rescue does some herp care, they are not a primarily reptile rescue so I offered to take a sand boa they had pulled from a county shelter. He had not eaten while they had him, but they only had him for about a week before he was brought to me. The snake is about a foot long and has a very good body mass, he's not skinny or malnourished at all and isn't defensive or flighty. I have not been handling him, I'm mostly just letting him stay to himself to decrease any stress.

He's currently housed in a sliding-lid glass aquarium that's about 12" by 9", and I have all the sides covered up with black construction paper so it has solid walls. His hot spot is 93F and I have about 1.5" of aspen shavings. He has a hide and a water dish, but he just stays burrowed (which he's a sand boa so that's okay).

He hasn't eaten for me at all, barely reacts when I show him a mouse. I've tried only F/T, and have done pinkies and fuzzies brained, with boiled water, and with chicken broth. I've tried cupping him with it overnight and leaving it in his cage, and he hasn't touched anything or struck at anything.

Does anyone have any suggestions about getting a sand boa to eat? I'm assuming he was fed live previously because he's definitely at a good weight. I will feed live if I have to but I would prefer not to if I can avoid it. Thank you!

Points: 150
Topics: Feeding
Species: Boas > Small Boas > Gongylophis colubrinus
Administrative: Show/Hide

Member Comment 4/24/2018 3:50:14 PM

Sonja K. Reptiles

How much does he weigh? I'm thinking the pinkies and fuzzies may be too small / that a larger heat signature might help trigger a food response. 

(He could also just be being a male with the thought of finding a lady on his mind. I have a male Roughscale Sand Boa that has only eaten once since Nov. even though I have told him the girl is still too young. Lol) 

Member Comment 4/24/2018 3:56:50 PM

Sonja K. Reptiles

I checked the tracking of a couple male Kenyans I used to have. Both would fast the winter and then start eating with the spring warm up. Not sure what area of the country you're in, but if you're having a late spring like MN, it could be just that.)

Member Comment 4/25/2018 2:21:37 PM


just to be on the safe side, have you looked inside his mouth for any signs of infection or injury?

if he does need to convert from live, often starting with fresh-killed for a few feedings will make it pretty easy to switch over. but hopefully Sonja's right and it's a seasonal/hormonal thing, and he'll pick up soon.

Member Comment 4/25/2018 4:54:33 PM

Sonja K. Reptiles

Good idea, Aimee!

Member Comment 4/25/2018 5:19:08 PM


thanks. I have a friend with an adult BP that didn't eat for almost a year. being a BP, she didn't worry and he didn't lose significant weight...but when he eventually went to the vet, he had an abscess in his lower jaw. it was small, but it kept him from wanting to eat. so I always figure it's a good idea to check, even though the odds are better that it's hormones or that he's just being picky.

Member Comment 5/5/2018 2:31:10 PM


did he eat yet?

Author Comment 5/7/2018 9:57:43 AM


Sorry, forgot to update! He is 140 g and I checked for mouth obstructions but his mouth looks good. I offered him a hopper mouse (F/T, brained, I heated it under a heat lamp so it wasn't wet--this is what my blood python needs to eat so I thought it might work for Tambi too) last week that he didn't take. I'm in NC so it's definitely started to warm up here but I'm hoping it's just seasonal and he'll eat soon. If not, I'll get him a live mouse at the June expo. Any other suggestions before I close the thread?

Thank you everybody!

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