Rubber Boa

Charina bottae
Rubber boa

Habitat 

Rubber boas can be found in southern British Columbia, eastern Washington and Oregon, California, northern Nevada, Montana, Wyoming and parts of Utah. It generally inhabits grassland, woodland, and forest habitats from sea level to 9,200 feet. These snakes can endure colder temperatures than most snakes, tolerating temperatures as low as 54 degrees Fahrenheit. There is often a nearby source of water and, due to its secretive nature, there are usually plenty of rocks, woody debris, and leaf litter to use for cover. It is believed that a rubber boa’s home range could be as small as 100 square yards if there is  adequate food, cover and hibernation sites. 

Lifestyle  

Most people never see this snake because it is most active at twilight and during the nighttime hours, preferring cooler temperatures. During the day it is often lurking beneath rotten logs and rocks. Rubber boas are capable swimmers, burrowers, and climbers but are slow moving compared to other species. When threatened, rather than biting, rubber boas curl up into a defensive ball with their tail as a decoy. Rubber boas can also ward off predators by releasing a potent musk from its anal glands. These snakes are active in early spring to late fall, mating in April or May, and hibernate underground from October to March, sometimes communally.  

Food Sources  

Consuming mostly mice and shrews, it has also been known to prey on lizards, other snakes and small birds. Rubber boas suffocate their prey just like their larger constrictor cousins.  

Reproduction  

Rubber boas are ovoviviparous like most boa species, meaning the eggs are hatched inside the body. The mother gives birth to 2-6 live young between August and November, depending on the range. These hatchlings, being about 6 inches long, are relatively large and are pinkish to light brown in color. Hatchlings are independent from the start and neither parent plays a role in caring for young. However, young are thought to hibernate with the adults for the winter and disperse the following spring, reaching sexual maturity when they are about 14 inches long. 

 

Facts About Rubber Boa

Smallest members of the boa family

One of only two boa species found naturally in the U.S.

Genus name Charina derived from Greek word meaning graceful