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Old 10-09-17, 11:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Best sand for Kenyan Sand Boa, dangers of Calcium, eating sand

Hey folks,

I like using sand for the Kenyan Sand Boa because I feel like it's easier to remove feces from sand than it is from aspen shavings (although I've never tried aspen shavings so I don't know this for a fact). I have two main questions.

1.) What kind of sand should I use? I heard the calcium carbonate sand is dangerous because it can lead to calcium carbonate deposition in the snake's digestive tract which can cause an impaction and potentially death. Is there a safe sand to use? Preferably one that doesn't abrade the snake's face/skin?

2.) Although people suggest feeding snakes in a separate container than their regular home (I think the reasoning is that they're less likely to bite you when you handle them in their regular home, if they don't associate it with food?), my snake refuses to eat elsewhere (I think she just gets over-excited by the change in environment). So I feed her in her regular tank (she never bites me when I handle her anyway). The issue is that I have to wiggle the frozen-thawed mouse around to get her to strike at it, and there's always some sand inadvertently coating the outside of the mouse. I'm worried about her ingesting sand. Is there a way around this problem, other than moving her to a bare-bottomed tank for feeding every time?

Thanks!
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Old 10-10-17, 09:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Best sand for Kenyan Sand Boa, dangers of Calcium, eating sand

Welcome to sSNAKESs!

Can't help with the KSBs--I'm getting to the max number of snakes I can attend to--but I'll be interested to see the recommendations anyone gives.
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Old 10-10-17, 12:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Best sand for Kenyan Sand Boa, dangers of Calcium, eating sand

I have always used newspaper. I hear a lot of people use Aspen bedding with success, just never use cedar, it is toxic
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Old 10-10-17, 12:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Best sand for Kenyan Sand Boa, dangers of Calcium, eating sand

I use varieties of sand, substrates, barks, etc... never had any issues with a KSB eating a mouthful of sand (which happens like all the time). "Impaction" is not caused by sand, wild snakes eat sand and whatnot all the time. It's caused by poor digestion which can be related to humidity/water intake, temperature, health issues..

I mix sand with some soil and a bit of excavator clay and fir bark for stability. Then mist it once a week to not have it turn dusty.

PS. Sandboa's stress easily, there's no need to feed outside of the enclosure, actually not with any snake.
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Old 10-10-17, 02:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Best sand for Kenyan Sand Boa, dangers of Calcium, eating sand

Thanks! @TRD, to clarify, you don't mean Calcium sand right? Or is Calcium sand okay? (That's all there is at my nearest pet store :/)
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Old 10-10-17, 06:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Best sand for Kenyan Sand Boa, dangers of Calcium, eating sand

Pure sand isn't good for any reptile in my opinion, almost no reptiles live in just "sand".

A loose dirt/sandy soil is the best in my opinion because you can insert beneficial microfauna that will clean any poops up for you. If you aren't comfortable using dirt from outside, I got my soil from the Biodude.com and I can't speak more highly of it as a burrowing media.

Some keepers will offer a KSB a foot or more of substrate. Personally I'd do a similar amount if I were to give keeping them a shot.
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Old 10-10-17, 06:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Best sand for Kenyan Sand Boa, dangers of Calcium, eating sand

I've been keeping Kenyan Sand Boas for almost 10 years now, and the substrate I prefer to use is Aspen Bedding. I tried different sands before switching over to aspen,and I just did not like any of them to be honest.
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Old 10-12-17, 03:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Best sand for Kenyan Sand Boa, dangers of Calcium, eating sand

@CKSandBoas Is there problems with odor?
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Old 10-12-17, 11:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Best sand for Kenyan Sand Boa, dangers of Calcium, eating sand

I'm not certain on various sources of calcium sand. I do use 60% quartz or regular multisized playsand from the hardware store with top soil and some plant compost for my rosy boas. It's the suggested sand percent to soil for arid tanks on one of the large bioactive groups but I don't really have to clean it since I use beetles in my really low humidity tanks. I mix the same sand in smaller amounts into other tanks to loosen the top soil if I don't need to add higher quality compost for planting instead. None of the snakes have had an issue eating any of the natural substrate materials. I also use coco fiber and a palm compost potting soil for higher humidity occasionally but such products are dusty for an arid tank so not recommended unless you find larger particle products than the usual coco blocks. Natural calcium based sand in bulk is not common here but some areas will have that instead of quartz sand. I have only heard not to use the calcium sand sold in pet stores.
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