Sand Boa Substrate: Soil Or Sand?

Question: What is the best substrate to use for a sand boa — not the soft, dry sand like you’d use for a sandbox, right?
Justine Samoza, Yonkers, NY

Sand boa


Sand boas are most comfortable on a loamy, slightly moist soil mixture.

Answer: One of the most widely spread myths in reptile-keeping today is, as you’ve rightly surmised, that sand boas of the genus Eryx should be housed on soft, dry sand. Sure, they may crawl across it in their wanderings, but sand boas are most comfortable on a loamy, slightly moist soil mixture that allows them to tunnel without the ground collapsing on them. This is where they feel most secure — burrowed in and out of sight. Beneath the surface is also where sand boas find most of their prey in the wild; underground rodent burrows are typical alleyways for them to travel through and hunt.

Kenyan Sand Boa Care Sheet   

If you insist on using “sugar sand” in your cages, place some flat pieces of rock on the surface that your sand boa can hide beneath. Sand boas like the feeling of a solid surface above them, and they will often peek out from under an edge while in ambush mode, awaiting passing food items.

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