- Common names: Indian sand boa, red sand boa, brown sand boa.
Adults rarely exceed 2 feet (61 cm) in total length (including tail), although they sometimes reach 3 feet (91 cm). Adapted to burrowing, the head is wedge-shaped with narrow nostrils and very small eyes. The body is cylindrical in shape with small polished dorsal scales. The tail, which is blunt, rounded, and not distinct from the body, appears truncated. Coloration varies from reddish-brown to dull yellow-tan. These snakes are rather timid and shy, and bites have never been reported to date.
The snake is found in dry, semi-desert scrub plains and rocky dry foothills. It prefers loose sand, or sandy soil that crumbles easily.
Because of the resemblance of the tail to its head, and its habit, when alarmed, of coiling up and raising the tail as if it were the head, the red sand boa is called do-muha (meaning two-headed in Hindi) in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, India.
E. johnii is ovoviviparous, with females giving birth to up to 14 young at a time.
Red sand boas have many superstitious beliefs attributed to them because of their double-headed appearance, such as bringing good luck, curing AIDS, etc. Such blind faith has resulted in endangering the species, and in illegal trade in India, despite being a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, of India.
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