Tartar Sand Boa – Care, Habitat, and Breeding Guide

One of the most interesting aspects of the Tartar Sand Boa is its burrowing behavior. This snake is highly adapted to life in the desert, and spends most of its time underground, making tunnels in the sand. Its small size and scaleless body allow it to move through the sand with ease, making it a perfect predator for the small rodents and lizards that also call the desert home.

Tartar Sand Boa: A Complete Guide to Care, Habitat, and Breeding



It is also important to provide hiding spots and tunnels for the snake to feel secure. Rocks, pieces of bark, and PVC pipes can be added to the enclosure to create hiding spots and tunnels for the snake to explore. These will also help to provide the snake with the necessary mental stimulation and enrichment.


The breeding process involves introducing the male and female together and monitoring their interactions. Courtship and mating usually occur at night, and the female will lay a clutch of eggs a few weeks after breeding. The eggs should be transferred to an incubator for proper development, and the temperature and humidity levels should be carefully monitored throughout the incubation period.


The tartar sand boa is a unique and fascinating snake that requires specialized care to thrive in captivity. By providing them with a suitable habitat, proper feeding, and appropriate breeding conditions, snake enthusiasts can enjoy the beauty and wonder of this small desert boa.

Basic Care for Tartar Sand Boas

The Tartar Sand Boa is a unique and fascinating snake species that is native to the sandy deserts of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Known for its vibrant coloration and scaleless appearance, this reptile is a popular choice among snake enthusiasts.

Proper care and maintenance of a Tartar Sand Boa are essential to ensure its health and well-being. Here are some important aspects to consider when providing care for this burrowing boa:

Housing and Enclosure

Feeding and Diet

Handling and Temperament

Proper handling is crucial to ensure the safety and well-being of both the snake and the handler. Tartar Sand Boas are generally docile and tolerate handling well. However, it is vital to approach them slowly and gently to prevent stress or injury.

Before handling, ensure that your hands are clean and free from any strong odors that may startle the snake. Supporting the snake’s body, particularly under the midsection, is essential to avoid inflicting any unnecessary pressure or harm.

By providing a suitable enclosure, proper nutrition, and gentle handling, you can ensure that your Tartar Sand Boa thrives and remains healthy. Always consult with a reptile veterinarian for any specific care needs or concerns related to your snake’s well-being.

Housing and Habitat for Tartar Sand Boas

  1. Enclosure: A glass or plastic terrarium with a secure lid is ideal for housing Tartar Sand Boas. The enclosure should be at least 20 gallons in size to provide enough space for the snake to move around. Ensure that the lid is secure to prevent any escapes.
  2. Hideouts: Tartar Sand Boas are secretive snakes and require multiple hiding spots within their enclosure. Provide at least two hideouts, one on the warm side and one on the cool side of the terrarium. These can be in the form of artificial caves, half-buried logs, or commercially available hide boxes.

It is essential to regularly clean the enclosure by removing any soiled substrate and disinfecting the hideouts with a reptile-safe cleaner. Monitoring the temperature and humidity levels is crucial to ensure the boa’s health and prevent any respiratory problems.

By creating a suitable housing and habitat for Tartar Sand Boas, you can provide them with the optimal conditions to thrive and exhibit their natural behaviors.

Feeding and Diet Requirements

The Tartar Sand Boa is a small reptile that belongs to the family Boidae. This scaleless boa is native to the deserts of Mongolia and China, where it is known for its ability to burrow underground. As a pet, the Tartar Sand Boa requires a specific diet to ensure its health and well-being.


It is recommended to offer frozen/thawed prey items to the Tartar Sand Boa, as this reduces the risk of the snake being injured during feeding and eliminates the possibility of the snake contracting parasites from live prey.

Feeding Schedule:

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements:

The Tartar Sand Boa’s diet should be supplemented with calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. These supplements can be dusted onto the prey items before feeding. This ensures that the snake receives all the necessary nutrients for its growth and development.



Proper nutrition is essential for the health and well-being of the Tartar Sand Boa. Feeding the snake a diet of small rodents, providing appropriate prey sizes, and offering vitamin and mineral supplements will help ensure the snake remains healthy and thriving. It is also important to provide access to fresh water at all times. By meeting the Tartar Sand Boa’s dietary needs, you can enjoy a rewarding and successful experience keeping this unique desert snake as a pet.

Handling and Temperament

When handling tartar sand boas, it is also important to consider their temperament. While they are generally docile snakes, they can become stressed or agitated if handled excessively or inappropriately. It is best to limit handling sessions to a few minutes at a time and ensure that the snake has had time to rest and digest its meals before handling.

Common Health Issues of Tartar Sand Boas

1. Respiratory Infections

2. Dehydration

3. Skin Infections

Tartar Sand Boas are prone to skin infections, especially if housed in unclean or unsanitary conditions. These infections can be caused by bacteria, fungi, or parasites. Symptoms may include skin discoloration, swelling, and the presence of sores or lesions. A thorough cleaning of the enclosure and proper hygiene practices can help prevent skin infections.

4. Parasites

Parasites, such as mites and ticks, are a common issue in reptiles, including Tartar Sand Boas. These external parasites can cause irritation, skin damage, and can lead to secondary infections if left untreated. Regular monitoring and proper hygiene practices can help prevent parasitic infestations.

5. Digestive Issues

Handling Shedding in Tartar Sand Boas

1. Provide Proper Humidity: Maintaining the correct humidity level in the snake’s enclosure is crucial for successful shedding. Low humidity can cause the skin to become dry and adhere to the snake, making it difficult for them to shed. On the other hand, excessive humidity can lead to bacterial or fungal growth. Keep the humidity levels around 40-50%.

2. Offer a Suitable Shedding Environment: Create a designated shedding area within the snake’s enclosure by providing a moist hide. This can be a small hide box filled with damp sphagnum moss or paper towels. The moisture in the hide will help soften the old skin and make it easier for the snake to shed.

3. Ensure Proper Hydration: Keeping your Tartar Sand Boa well-hydrated is essential for a smooth shedding process. Provide a shallow water dish that is large enough for the snake to soak in comfortably. A soak in lukewarm water can also aid in loosening the old skin and facilitating shedding.

4. Monitor Shedding Progress: Regularly check on your snake during the shedding process to ensure everything is progressing smoothly. If you notice that the snake is struggling or having difficulty shedding in certain areas, you can provide assistance by gently misting the area with lukewarm water. Avoid forcefully pulling or peeling the skin off, as this can cause injury.

5. Post-Shed Care: Once your Tartar Sand Boa has completed shedding, keep an eye out for retained shed. Check their body and tail for any leftover skin that may not have come off. If there are retained shed pieces, you can assist by gently removing them using damp cotton swabs.

Overall, handling shedding in Tartar Sand Boas requires attention to environmental factors, hydration, and monitoring. By providing them with the proper conditions and post-shed care, you can ensure a healthy and successful shedding process for your snake.

Tartar Sand Boa: Breeding Behavior and Reproduction

Seasonal Breeding: Tartar sand boas are seasonal breeders, with their breeding season typically occurring in the springtime. During this time, the males will become more active and display courtship behaviors to attract a female.

Gestation Period: After successful mating, the female tartar sand boa will go through a gestation period of approximately four to six months. During this time, she will carry the developing eggs internally.

Egg Laying: Once the gestation period is complete, the female will lay a clutch of eggs. The number of eggs can vary, but it is usually between 5 to 15 eggs. These eggs are then carefully buried in the substrate to provide protection and insulation.

Incubation: The eggs of the tartar sand boas need to be incubated at the right temperature and humidity levels for successful hatching. The ideal temperature range for incubation is around 82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (28 to 30 degrees Celsius). It is essential to provide a moist substrate to maintain the necessary humidity levels.

Hatching: After an incubation period of around 60 to 70 days, the eggs will hatch, and baby tartar sand boas will emerge. These hatchlings are independent from birth and will begin hunting for food soon after hatching.

Caring for Hatchlings: Once the hatchlings have emerged, they should be provided with appropriate enclosures, including a secure hiding spot and a shallow water dish. The hatchlings can be fed appropriately sized prey, such as pinky mice, and their enclosure should be kept at the proper temperature and humidity levels.

Tartar Sand Boa: Incubation and Hatching Process

Incubating Tartar Sand Boa Eggs:

After a successful breeding, the female tartar sand boa will lay a clutch of eggs. These eggs should be carefully removed from the enclosure and placed in an incubator for optimal conditions. The incubation temperature should be maintained between 80-85°F (27-29°C) to ensure proper development.

It is crucial to keep a close eye on the humidity levels in the incubator. Maintain a humidity range of 80-90% to prevent dehydration of the eggs. This can be achieved by using a substrate such as vermiculite or perlite and regularly misting it to maintain moisture.

Hatching of Tartar Sand Boa Eggs:

The incubation period for tartar sand boa eggs typically ranges from 65 to 75 days. During this time, it is essential to periodically check the eggs for any signs of fungal growth or mold, as this can be detrimental to the developing embryos.

Once the hatchlings start to emerge from their eggs, it is best to leave them in the incubator until they have fully shed their skin and consumed their first meal. This process can take several days to a week, depending on the individual snakes.

Caring for Tartar Sand Boa Hatchlings:

Regular monitoring of the hatchlings’ growth and health is crucial during the early stages. Any signs of illness or abnormal behavior should be addressed promptly to maintain their well-being.

By following these guidelines for incubating and hatching tartar sand boa eggs, breeders can ensure the successful reproduction and development of this fascinating scaleless snake species. With proper care and attention, tartar sand boas can thrive in captivity and continue to captivate reptile enthusiasts around the world.

Sexing Tartar Sand Boas

One method to sex tartar sand boas is based on their size. In general, females tend to be larger and thicker than males. This difference can be observed when comparing adult specimens, but it might not be as apparent when they are still young. Additionally, the male’s tail is often longer and more slender than the female’s.

Another technique is to examine the ventral scales of the boas. This can be done by gently flipping the snake onto its back and examining the area just above the vent. Males typically have a V-shaped row of scales, while females have a U-shaped row. However, this method requires some experience and may not be foolproof.

Tips for Successful Breeding of Tartar Sand Boas

1. Age and Size

Before attempting to breed tartar sand boas, make sure they are sexually mature. Females typically reach sexual maturity at around 2-3 years old, while males can be ready to breed as early as 1 year old. Make sure both snakes are at a healthy size, with females being at least 20 inches long and males around 18 inches long.

2. Temperature and Lighting

Creating the proper environment for breeding is crucial. Maintain a temperature gradient in the enclosure, with a cooler side ranging between 75-80°F and a warmer side around 85-90°F. Use a full spectrum UVB light to mimic natural sunlight and provide a day-night cycle of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.

3. Introduction and Pairing

Introduce the male into the female’s enclosure rather than the other way around. Make sure to supervise their initial interactions to ensure they are both receptive. It is normal for the male to engage in a courtship ritual, which includes rubbing his chin and body against the female.

4. Breeding Environment

Place a separate breeding enclosure in a quiet and undisturbed area. Provide plenty of hiding spots using rocks, branches, or other suitable materials. A substrate of sand or a sand and soil mix should be used in the enclosure. This will allow the female to dig a burrow for laying her eggs.

5. Monitoring and Care

During the breeding process, closely monitor the female’s behavior and physical condition. She may refuse to eat and become more restless as she approaches laying eggs. Provide her with a warm and moist hide box to help facilitate the egg-laying process.

6. Incubation

After the female has laid her eggs, carefully remove them from the burrow and place them in an incubator. Maintain a temperature of around 85°F and a relative humidity of 70-80%. The eggs will typically hatch in about 60-75 days.

7. Hatchling Care

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of successfully breeding tartar sand boas. Remember to always prioritize the health and well-being of your snakes throughout the breeding process.