Even though the sand boa is a niche snake as far as reptile keeping goes, more and more people have started to keep a sand boa as a pet in the last two years.
This is due to the sand boa being a great beginner snake species that has been recommended time and time again by reptile influencers on social media but the corn snake and ball python just dominate when it comes to popularity.
Still, the number of people keeping sand boas is increasing and even though they are a beginner friendly snake, most people will still end up having problems with them.
This is totally normal and happens with all snake species and everyone, no matter their experience level is always learning.
One potentially serious question that may be easy to fix that has been being asked more frequently recently is about a sand boa not eating.
Due to so many people reaching out and asking about this recently, we decided to publish this article to try and help as many of our readers as possible who have a sand boa that is refusing food.
Why Your Sand Boa Is Not Eating!
Here is our short list of the most common reasons that your pet sand boa is not eating:-
- Feeding The Wrong Food!
- Temperature Problems!
- Issues With Humidity!
- Problems With The Environment!
- Internal Parasites!
If you are a beginner to keeping a pet snake then there is actually a high chance that you have at least two or more of those problems with your vivarium rather than there just being one single problem.
The number one reason that a sand boa would refuse food is due to stress and this can be for many different reasons.
Stress is surprisingly common with snakes and there are plenty of triggers that can cause the issue in a snake that has only been in your care for a short period of time.
Some of the more common causes of stress are featured in this article below as their own entry as to why your sand boa is not eating.
Other causes of stress include vibrations, constant handling, being handled by too many people, and not having the correct substrate in the vivarium.
Feeding The Wrong Food!
One of the main reasons that a sand boa will not eat is due to being offered the wrong food items or prey that is too large.
A lot of beginner snake keepers make the mistake of offering their sand boa pinkies (newborn mice) when they are actually only supposed to be offered fuzzies (mice that are a few weeks old) but the age of your snake comes into play.
This is often because they believe that since the sand boa is a small snake, it will only eat small prey items.
This is not the case and offering your sand boa pinkies when it should be eating fuzzies can actually cause serious health problems down the line.
Another common mistake is offering prey that is too large for the snake to eat.
This often happens when people first get their sand boa and they want to offer it a nice big meal so that it doesn’t have to eat for a while.
While this may seem like a good idea, it can actually cause your sand boa to regurgitate its food which is not only stressful for the snake but can also lead to serious health problems.
It is always best to err on the side of caution and offer your sand boa food that is slightly smaller than its girth.
One of the most common issues that beginner snake keepers face is not having the correct temperature in their vivarium.
A lot of people believe that since snakes are cold-blooded, they don’t need a heat source in their vivarium but this is not the case.
Snakes need a basking spot in their enclosure so that they can regulate their body temperature and if this is not provided, it can lead to a number of health problems including refusal to eat.
The basking spot in a sand boa’s enclosure should be between 85-95 degrees Fahrenheit and the rest of the vivarium should have a temperature gradient so that the snake can move to a cooler or warmer area depending on its needs.
The bulk of the sand boas vivarium should be between 76-82°F on the cool side and 80-85°F on the warm side and this simple change can be enough to get your sand boa eating again.
Issues With Humidity!
Another common issue that people face with their vivarium is not having the correct humidity level.
The ideal humidity level for a sand boa’s vivarium is between 60-80% and this can be achieved by using a hygrometer to measure the levels.
If the humidity in your vivarium is too low, it can cause your sand boa to stop eating in some cases but this is not a common symptom but still worth keeping in mind.
One of the main reasons that a sand boa would refuse food is due to it being in the process of shedding.
This is a natural process that all snakes go through from time to time and it is nothing to be concerned about.
During the shedding process, the snake’s vision can be impaired and this can make it difficult for them to find and capture their prey.
It is best to leave your sand boa alone while it is shedding and not try to handle it as this can actually make the process more difficult for the snake.
Once the shed is complete, you will likely find that your sand boa’s appetite will return to normal.
Problems With The Environment!
Problems with the environment for your sand boa can be enough to cause it to stop eating and although there are some featured items on this list that can be classed as problems with the vivarium environment, there are a number of common issues.
These include but are not limited to:-
- Unsuitable substrate.
- Unsuitable vivarium decorations.
- Poor tank placement results in too much vibration (near a door, tv or music system).
- In an area of your home with natural temperature swings.
One of the most common health problems that snakes face is internal parasites and this can be a serious issue if left untreated.
Internal parasites are usually contracted by eating infected prey items and they can cause a number of issues including weight loss, refusal to eat and in some cases, death.
If you suspect that your sand boa has internal parasites, it is important to take it to a reptile vet for treatment as soon as possible.
There are a number of reasons why your sand boa may stop eating but the most common cause is due to something being wrong with its environment.
It is important to check the temperature, humidity and substrate in your vivarium and make sure that everything is correct before considering any other potential causes.
If you are still unsure of the reason why your sand boa has stopped eating, it is always best to take it to a reptile vet for a professional opinion.