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Kenyan Sand Boa Desperate To Escape

Discussion in 'Boas' started by Danger Noodle, May 2, 2018.

  1. Danger Noodle

    Danger Noodle New Member

    Hello everyone,

    This is my first time posting in a reptile forum. I have owned a Kenyan Sand Boa since Nov. 2015 without any major issues. However, lately he has been exhibiting some odd behavior, so I was hoping someone could give me advice.

    Some background info:
    Kenyan sand boa
    Sex unknown
    Adopted Nov. 2015
    Age unknown (supposedly 2 years old at time of adoption, but was way too small so I suspect that info was incorrect)
    Currently 20 inches long, 6.7 oz (about 190 grams)
    Currently eats 1 thawed hopper every 2 weeks
    Last shed about 2 weeks ago
    Last fed 4/29

    Tank set up:
    Reptile sand (he has always had sand)
    A cardboard box filled with Carefresh on the "cool" side of the tank
    Water dish
    Fake log (sometimes gets rotated with other objects such as a wooden bridge or fake plant)
    Humidity hut (I know sand boas don't usually have one, but he's always had one without issue. He does like to hang out in it once in a while)
    Ceramic heat emitter & heat pad on the "hot" side of the tank with temperature probe, both heat sources are on a thermostat set to 90 degrees in the daytime and 70 degrees at night

    His tank has been basically the same for all 2 years that I've owned him. Usually my boa spends almost all of his time buried in the sand or Carefresh. For the past 4 days, however, he has been spending all of his time up against the tank wall, very strongly nosing around the top of the tank. I'm worried he might start damaging his nose by rubbing against the tank's metal mesh cover. When I open the tank, he's immediately coming over the wall, which is unusual because normally he tries to hide when a person is standing too close.

    In early 2016, he did a lot of climbing too, and at that time I started feeding him larger mice (pinkies to fuzzies), and this solved the problem at that time. I thought maybe it was the same problem again this time. I tried feeding him last night (a week earlier than usual), thinking maybe he was just too hungry again. He took the hopper at first, but when I checked on him later he had dropped it and was trying to escape from his feeding carrier. He ignored or actively avoided all attempts to re-offer the hopper.

    I'm not sure if the snake is male or female, but could this be a case of breeding behavior? Since we finally have some good spring weather in our area, maybe he's too hot? (Although the thermostat should be keeping the sand temp constant, and he hasn't been spending a particularly abnormal amount of time on the cool side). Otherwise I have no idea what's gotten into him. Nothing else in the tank set up or daily routine has changed.
  2. AmityReptiles

    AmityReptiles Well Established Member

    This could definitely be breeding behavior. I wouldn't worry about it, this amount of activity should be expected this time of year.
    What do you mean by reptile sand? If it is actual playsand then great... but the walnut shells or the calcium sand can pose serious health risks for your snake. It's very misleading marketing when they label these "reptile sand".
  3. Danger Noodle

    Danger Noodle New Member

    Hello Amity Reptiles,

    Thank you for your reply. :) I do hope it is breeding behavior, as I have no more ideas left. In answer to your question about the substrate, I no longer have the bag it came in. However, I believe it was either Exo Terra Desert Sand or Zoo Med Repti Sand, both of which are supposed to be specifically for reptiles.

    An update on his condition:

    About a week after my initial post, I read online on another site that sometimes if a tank smells "too snakey" it can cause a snake to try to leave the tank in search of a new territory (even if the smell is from himself). Since I figured he was about due for fresh substrate anyway, I gave his tank a thorough clean out. After speaking to someone at a pet store and checking some reviews online, I bought Zoo Med Repti-Chips (made from aspen). I dumped out the sand, gave the tank a good scrub using a simple mix of baking soda, water, and salt, let everything air dry, cleaned out the plastic things in his tank (i.e. water dish, decor), and then put in the new chips. I also replaced his Carefresh too.

    All of that work, and it only calmed him down for about 2 days. :rolleyes: He still hasn't eaten, although we have been offering his usual hopper once a week. The lack of food intake doesn't seem to be slowing him down at all though. He has been consistently "strength-training" by pushing up against the lid of the tank every day. I try to take him out every other day to give him a chance to explore and not get too frustrated in the tank. (Seems to have lost all hesitation of being handled in the process, which I guess is handy).

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