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ARABIAN SAND BOA /Jayakar’s sand boa

The Arabian sand boa is a small nonvenomous snake native to the Arabian Peninsula and Iran where it spends the day buried in the sand. Its eyes are very small and are located on the top of the head, which has a blunt snout and is wedge-shaped. This snake’s color is yellowish-grey or sandy-brown speckled with white flecks and transversely banded with dark marks. The Arabian Sand Boa a small Sand Boa restricted to the Arabian Peninsula. It rarely exceeds 16 inches (40 cm.) in length.

In overall coloration it is similar to the more familiar East African Sand Boa, E. colubrinus, with a black or brown pattern on an orange/yellow background. The pattern is finer and more irregular than that
of colubrinus and the darker blotches can form irregular bands across the surface of the snake. In some parts of its range the Arabian Sand Boas are much darker and almost patternless, a condition similar to that seen on some populations of E. miliaris, E. conicus and E. colubrinus.

Arabian Sand Boas are one of the truly sand dwelling Eryx and have their eyes positioned on top of their heads, rather than on the sides. This allows them to see out of the sand without having to have all of the head exposed. A similar, although less pronounced, adaptation is seen in E. miliaris.

The Arabian Sand Boa is active largely at night in its desert home, where it hunts lizards and small rodents.

 

Classification

KINGDOM: Animalia

PHYLUM: Chordata

SUBPHYLUM: Vertebrata

CLASS: Reptilia

ORDER: Squamata

SUBORDER: Serpentes:

FAMILY: Boidae

GENUS: Eryx

SPECIES: Eryx jayakari

STATUS: Least Concern

According to IUCN, the Arabian sand boa is locally common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

 

Distribution

Arabian sand boas occur in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Kuwait, and southern Iran, where a small number of specimens have been found in Khuzestan Province, Bushehr Province, and Kerman Province. These snakes live in deserts and require sand or soft soil for burrowing.

 

Habits

Arabian sand boas are solitary creatures. They are largely nocturnal and are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures. During the day they bury themselves deep in the sand but move towards the surface at dusk. Here they remain slightly below the surface with just their eyes projecting, ready to pounce with a sideways flick of their head, on any small creature that happens to pass.

Diet

Arabian sand boas are carnivores and feed on geckos and worm lizards.

Mating Habits

INCUBATION PERIOD: 66 days

BABY CARRYING: 4-7 eggs

Unlike most boas, which give birth to live young, female Arabian sand boas lay a small clutch of 4-7 eggs. The incubation period lasts about 66 days after which eggs hatch at a temperature of 33 °C (91 °F).

LIFE SPAN: 20-30 YRS

LENGTH: 38 cm