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|Javelin sand boa, E. jaculus|
- Common names: Old World sand boas.
The Erycinae are part of a family of non-venomous snakes called boas found in Europe, Asia Minor, Africa, Arabia, central and southwestern Asia, India, Sri Lanka and western North America. Three genera comprising 15 species are currently recognized.
A group of stout-bodied snakes, all of which are competent burrowers. The largest, E. johnii rarely exceeds 120 cm. Most grow to around 60 cm in length. They have small eyes and hard, small scales to protect their skin from the grit of sand. There is a great deal of sexual dimorphism, females generally becoming much larger than males.
Found in south and southeastern Europe, Asia Minor, north, central, west and east Africa, Arabia, central and southwestern Asia, India, Sri Lanka. Also in southwestern Canada, the western United States and northwestern Mexico.
Fossil erycines have been found in rock strata over 50 million years old, and were once widespread in North America. Now, only two species remain in North America, as well as the sand boas in Africa, Asia and southeastern Europe.
The majority of these snakes spend much of their time basking below the surface of the sand, with only their eyes or head exposed on the surface. When a potential prey item approaches, they erupt out of the sand, bite and employ constriction to subdue it.
Their primary diet consists of rodents, but they have also been known to prey on lizards and birds.
Otherwise far removed from their boine cousins, one thing they do have in common is that they are generally ovoviviparous, i.e. giving birth to live young. Still, at least three species lay eggs: the Calabar python, Charina reinhardtii (once regarded as a python for this reason), the Arabian sand boa, Eryx jayakari, and the West African sand boa, E. muelleri.
Gongylophis colubrinus, G. conicus and E. johnii are frequently available in the exotic pet trade and are often captive bred. They breed readily, their small size making them an attractive option. On the down side, they sometimes have a tendency to be a little nippy while spending the vast majority of their time hiding, so some keepers may not find them as enjoyable as the more gregarious species. They are usually not an aggressive species of snake, though. Other species are not commonly available, but are occasionally imported, not usually captive bred.
|Genus||Taxon author||Species||Subsp.*||Common name||Geographic range|
|Charina||Gray, 1849||4||2||Rosy boas, rubber boas||North America from southwestern Canada south through the western United States into northwestern Mexico. Also found in west and central Africa from Liberia and Sierra Leone to Cameroon (including Bioko Island), the Central African Republic, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the DRC, it is found almost as far east as Lake Kivu.|
|EryxT||Daudin, 1803||8||2||Old world sand boas||Southeastern Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East and southwestern Asia.|
|Gongylophis||Wagler, 1830||3||0||Sand boas||Africa from Mauritania and Senegal east to Egypt and south to Tanzania. Also reported from the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. In the Indian subcontinent from eastern Pakistan, eastern India and Bangladesh south as far as northwestern Sri Lanka.|
Some sources also include the genus Calabaria, which is synonymized here with the genus Charina.
- List of erycine species and subspecies
- Erycinae by common name
- Erycinae by taxonomic synonyms
- ^ a b c d McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
- ^ a b c d e f Erycinae (TSN 563897). Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved on 8 July 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Erycinae|
Bhardwaj, D. 2007. Rough-scaled sand Boa (Eryx conicus) predation on a Bengal Monitor (Varanus bengalensis). Biawak 1 (1): 34