Red Sand Boa ( Eryx jhonii Russell, 1801 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Eryx jhonii (Russell, 1801)
Regional Names: 
English: 
John's Earth Boa, Indian Sand Boa
Hindi: 
Domuhi, Damoi
Marathi: 
Mandul
Malayalam: 
Erattathalayan, Eruthalayan
Gujarati: 
Andhali Chakan, Damoi
Distribution: 
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 
Uniformly slender body from neck to tail. Dorsal colour brown, blackish brown etc without any pattern. Presence of very thick and blunt tail which looks like head.
Description: 

Length -
This is the largest member of the Boidae family found in India (largest Boa of Genus Eryx in the world). General length is 2.5ft approx but can grow up to 4ft.

Dorsal body -
Body slender with small, keeled but shiny scales. Body color almost uniform brown, reddish brown, reddish black, chocolate brown etc in adults. Color in adults is found to be darker than in sub adults. Juveniles have reddish and blackish colored banded pattern, which is more prominent on the tail.

Ventral body -
Ventral scales are much narrower like typical burrowing snakes. Belly color also depends on dorsal color and generally same like or may be darker. Sometimes white, dark brown, orange or blackish patches present on the whole ventral surface. Subcaudal scales are unpaired and sometimes have a totally different color than the ventral.

Head -
Head depressed in the front with smooth scales; not broader than neck. Very tough shovel shaped rostral scales present which are visible from the top also, useful for digging temporary burrows in loose soil or sand. Eyes small and with verticle pupil. Tongue color red.

Tail -
Very small and thick tail which ends with a blunt head like tip (thus the famous name Two Headed Snake). It may have darker color than dorsal body.

Scalation
Head: 
10-12 Supralabials; 10-11 (sometimes 12) small scales surrounding eyes.
Dorsal: 
Small sized keeled scales (of smooth feeling) have 53-67 rows.
Ventral: 
190-213; Anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
20-34; undivided.
Habitat: 
Red Sand Boa is a nocturnal species and spends most of its time underground; use dry and sandy soil for burrowing and is mostly active at night. Lives in mounds, under buried bricks and rocks, rat holes, small caves, agricultural lands etc. Behavior Very slow with almost no aggression. Due to shy and burrowing behaviour like to made a coil with head inside it and search loose soil for making temporary burrow.
Diet: 
Feeds on rodents, other snakes and lizards.
Authors & Contributors: