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Gongylophis colubrinus - A Living Relative of Nidophis insularis

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  • Neal Robbins
        These links have photos of Gongylophis colubrinus. http://www.reptarium.cz/en/taxonomy/Eryx-colubrinus/16572
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 13, 2013
        These links have photos of Gongylophis colubrinus.
          Gongylophis colubrinus is a living relative of the Cretaceous snake Nidophis insularis. Both are in the infraorder Alethinophidia. However, they are in different families. Gongylophis colubrinus is a member of the family Boidae. Nidophis insularis is in the extinct family Madtsoiidae.
          Gongylophis colubrinus is native to Africa. It is often called the Kenyan Sand Boa, but its range also includes Ethiopia, Somalia, the Sudan, Tanzania, Niger, and Libya. Gongylophis colubrinus resides in deserts and semi-arid areas.
          Gongylophis colubrinus is 50-90 cm. (1.64-2.95 ft.) in length. Males are considerably smaller than females. The tails of males are relatively longer than those of the females. The body coloration of Gongylophis colubrinus is generally light yellow or brown above. Large dark patches are typically present. They are irregular in shape. The belly is yellowish, creamy, or white. It sometimes has gray or light brown spots or bars. A dark streak usually runs through each eye. Juveniles are lighter in color than adults. Gongylophis colubrinus has vestigial hind legs. This is a characteristic of many boas.
          Gongylophis colubrinus mostly eats small mammals, for example, rodents. It also feeds on lizards and small birds. This snake conceals itself by burrowing in loose soil (for example, sand) or burrows of small animals. Gongylophis colubrinus ambushes passing prey and kills by constriction or swallowing the victim alive. It sometimes kills prey by pulling it under the sand. This suffocates the prey.
          Gongylophis colubrinus generally stays in burrows or hides under the sand during daylight hours. It emerges at night to hunt. However, Gongylophis colubrinus sometimes basks or hunts during the day.
          Gongylophis colubrinus matures in 2-3 years. Females give live birth to a clutch of 4-20 offspring. The gestation period is 4-5 months. The young are 17-20 cm. (6.7-7.9 inches) long. Their average weight is around 8 grams (0.28 oz.). Gongylophis colubrinus has been known to live up to 10 years in captivity.
          These publications are references:
      http://www.arkive.org/ Arkive -Gongylophis colubrinus
      S. Baha El Din (2006) A Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Egypt. American University in Cairo Press, Cairo.
      CITES (July, 2012)
      M. O'Shea and T. Halliday (2010) Reptiles and Amphibians. Dorling Kindersley, London.
          Neal Robbins
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