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Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 17th, 2016, 12:21 pm
by Zach_Lim
Hey everyone,

Haven't made a post in awhile so I figured I would start one about everyone's favorite under appreciated worm- the Rubber Boa. 2016 with its rain and fairly mild weather (well, being in the Bay Area, who knows what the weather will be tomorrow!) has proved to be quite favorable for Charina. From January until now (May), I think I have found close to 18+ boas in quite a few different areas/counties!

These personable, mysterious snakes were a favorite of mine when I was a kid- would stare at pics of them (along with Zonata) in my field guides and just wish to find one! Well, now it seems they find me!

Just wanted to share some of my favorite Rubber Boa photos from 2016 so far. Nothing too crazy, just some snakes from the area.

1. Massive Gravid female, San Mateo County, May 2016.

The most recent Rubber Boa was actually found by my girlfriend (her lifer!) while we were taking a hike and exploring some abandoned buildings. We found 3 in total, with this being the largest one. Actually, this was actually the largest boa I have ever seen!

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2. Yearling, Santa Cruz County, May 2016.

I've been exploring outside of my normal hiking areas and was thrilled to find this little guy in a new area under some wood!

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3. Olive green (relatively) adult female, San Mateo County, April 2016.

Just a very clean looking Rubber Boa that was pretty adorable.

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4. Large female with heavily scarred/freshly wounded tail tip, Santa Cruz County, March 2016

A very large, typically colored boa from the Santa Cruz Mountains. Under a log on the side of the road.

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5. Adult male boa with little to no tail tip scarring, Santa Clara County, March 2016.

The first boa I found while exploring a new area!

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5. East Bay boa, Contra Costa County, February 2016.

My first boa from across the Bay! My friend Ryan set up a few pieces of AC near his home and was nice enough to take me out!

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6. First boa of the year, San Mateo County, January 2016.

A poorly photographed adult boa from chaparral habitat.

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I have caught boa fever. I use to spend my time trying to find and record some of the more "popular" species like Mountain Kingsnakes, but I am now thinking I may have a new goal- boas EVERYWHERE. So many places I've yet to hike in the Bay Area (and well, all throughout Northern California)- might a well add a boa hunt into the mix!

If anyone wants to join on a boa hunt, please let me know!

Please share your boa finds too in this thread!

-Zach

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 17th, 2016, 4:10 pm
by hellihooks
awesome stuff Zack... hope you can make it to the Ca meet... where the rubber(s) meet the road... :crazyeyes:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 17th, 2016, 4:38 pm
by the_cw1
I went out last week with Rich Hoyer down in Corvalis Oregon and learned more about boas (and herping) than I ever thought I would! Stand up guy. I would recommend it to anyone in the area.

Here was a good sized one I snapped down there.
ImageRubber Boa by Derek Halm, on Flickr

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 17th, 2016, 5:50 pm
by Jimi
I have caught boa fever...I may have a new goal- boas EVERYWHERE.
That's awesome Zach. That San Mateo female is a BEAST! Who knew they got like that?!???! Ha ha ha.

So, uh - we got boas in Utah, too. Don't know where all they are, either. Mysterious is right, but there's a little local know-how (e.g., Hoyer Jr lives here). So when you're done over there...c'mon over!

cheers

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 17th, 2016, 6:24 pm
by NACairns
Boas are a really interesting, I wish I could stumble across them more often but it's a bit of a drive. I've put these up before but here are a few from southern BC.
From around Osoyoos:
ImageCharina bottae by N Cairns, on Flickr
ImageCharina bottae by N Cairns, on Flickr
ImageCharina bottae by N Cairns, on Flickr

Near Keremeos:
ImageCharina bottae by N Cairns, on Flickr

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 18th, 2016, 10:42 am
by Scott Waters
Love rubber boas! My favorite serpent to herp, and conveniently the most populous snake in the Sierra (well, after crotalus). Thanks for sharing some coasties!

Scott

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 18th, 2016, 1:51 pm
by Zach_Lim
Thanks for the replies, everyone!
hellihooks wrote:awesome stuff Zack... hope you can make it to the Ca meet... where the rubber(s) meet the road... :crazyeyes:
I'll try to make it down!
the_cw1 wrote:I went out last week with Rich Hoyer down in Corvalis Oregon and learned more about boas (and herping) than I ever thought I would! Stand up guy. I would recommend it to anyone in the area.
That's awesome you were able to herp with Richard Hoyer! When anyone says "Rubber Boa" or "Contia", I instantly think of him. Would love to head up that way and herp!
Jimi wrote:
I have caught boa fever...I may have a new goal- boas EVERYWHERE.
That's awesome Zach. That San Mateo female is a BEAST! Who knew they got like that?!???! Ha ha ha.

So, uh - we got boas in Utah, too. Don't know where all they are, either. Mysterious is right, but there's a little local know-how (e.g., Hoyer Jr lives here). So when you're done over there...c'mon over!

cheers
The Mateo girl was indeed HUGE. I wonder how many generations of boas on that hillside call her mom!

Utah seems like a very interesting place for rubber boas to reside. I wonder what type of habitat they prefer there? I would love to head over there for some boas (and of course milks).
NACairns wrote:Boas are a really interesting, I wish I could stumble across them more often but it's a bit of a drive. I've put these up before but here are a few from southern BC.
So awesome to see any herp from Canada, especially boas! What does the habitat look like up there? I would imagine more grassland?
Scott Waters wrote:Love rubber boas! My favorite serpent to herp, and conveniently the most populous snake in the Sierra (well, after crotalus). Thanks for sharing some coasties!

Scott
I have yet to see a Rubber Boa in the Sierras (just zonata, lateralis, etc). Will have to make more of an effort!

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 18th, 2016, 4:36 pm
by hellihooks
Zach_Lim wrote: The Mateo girl was indeed HUGE. I wonder how many generations of boas on that hillside call her mom!
might very well be my lifer rubber... when Chad took me there... biggest boa he'd ever seen... and (of course) left right there... 8-)

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 18th, 2016, 5:58 pm
by Zach_Lim
hellihooks wrote:
Zach_Lim wrote: The Mateo girl was indeed HUGE. I wonder how many generations of boas on that hillside call her mom!
might very well be my lifer rubber... when Chad took me there... biggest boa he'd ever seen... and (of course) left right there... 8-)
That would be awesome! Never been before- just wanted
To explore
Some abandoned areas with the lady and happen to find one!

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 18th, 2016, 7:00 pm
by Kelly Mc
Really love that head portrait.

Rubber boas make me love the ground, the beautiful Cali ground.

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 18th, 2016, 8:48 pm
by NACairns
The second boa is from a grassland but the first couple are from mid altitude from stumps and talus at the ecotone between pine and fir. That site used to be extremely productive, but homes and traffic appear to have reduced numbers.
Such cool species hope to see some this summer.
Best,
Nick

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 19th, 2016, 1:08 pm
by Scott Waters
They are much bigger in the Sierra, compared to the coasties.

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 19th, 2016, 3:19 pm
by Knormal
You're all killing me, I've been driving all over Northern California this spring trying to find a boa with no luck. If anyone wants to PM me any hotspots I'd really appreciate it.

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 24th, 2016, 12:52 pm
by Zach_Lim
NACairns wrote:The second boa is from a grassland but the first couple are from mid altitude from stumps and talus at the ecotone between pine and fir. That site used to be extremely productive, but homes and traffic appear to have reduced numbers.
Such cool species hope to see some this summer.
Best,
Nick
That sounds like great habitat, all of them! Do you think many boas are being hit by cars due to traffic, or are you referring to foot traffic?
Scott Waters wrote:They are much bigger in the Sierra, compared to the coasties.
Wow, really? Also, I have never found a "pink" baby along the coast. I have a feeling that pink neos are reserved for the Sierra animals (?)
Knormal wrote:You're all killing me, I've been driving all over Northern California this spring trying to find a boa with no luck. If anyone wants to PM me any hotspots I'd really appreciate it.
Keep it up! I have seen over 2 dozen of them so far in 2016 and most have been in chaparral habitat/grassland bordering forests.

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 24th, 2016, 12:57 pm
by Zach_Lim
Another day, a new spot, another boa!

Had breakfast with my girlfriend this morning up in the mountains and while driving home, spotted some junk on the side of the road. Lilly flipped some junk wood and I spotted this big boa trying to bolt down a hole!

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It's a great year to be (or become) a rubber boa enthusiast!

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: May 24th, 2016, 1:08 pm
by NACairns
I've found a number of DOR's, there is quite a bit of vehicle traffic now for a mountain back road and people aren't looking for boas.

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: June 2nd, 2016, 8:55 am
by tspuckler
That's a nice collection from this year, Zach! It's nice to see so much interest in this "classic" American snake.

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: June 2nd, 2016, 9:51 am
by Zach_Lim
tspuckler wrote:That's a nice collection from this year, Zach! It's nice to see so much interest in this "classic" American snake.
Thanks, Tim! They are indeed a "classic" snake, aren't they?

Not a boa, but here is a "Boa by-catch" from the weekend-

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Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: June 3rd, 2016, 9:29 am
by RenoBart
Nice pics! I am heading out to the Western Sierras not this weekend but the next to do some herping. I hope this recent heat doesn't drive them away!

Bart

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: June 10th, 2016, 6:24 pm
by gbeck
Here's one we found on the crawl in Utah in February-

ImageRubber Boa (Charina bottae) by Gavin Beck, on Flickr

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: July 5th, 2016, 8:52 am
by Zach_Lim
gbeck wrote:Here's one we found on the crawl in Utah in February-

ImageRubber Boa (Charina bottae) by Gavin Beck, on Flickr
That is a fine looking boa! And in the snow?! That is amazing!

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: July 5th, 2016, 8:54 am
by Zach_Lim
Some more Rubber Boas from June

June 9, 2016- San Mateo County, California

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June 28, 2016- San Mateo County, California

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Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: July 13th, 2016, 8:24 pm
by LouB747
Good stuff Zack. I managed to find a rubber boa in Yosemite this last week. Flipped it under a rock. It was a cool surprise.


Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: July 14th, 2016, 5:58 am
by Fieldherper
Nice boas Zach! One of my favorite snakes.

FH

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: July 15th, 2016, 9:49 am
by Zach_Lim
Another summer boa...

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Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: August 9th, 2016, 6:08 am
by Zach_Lim
Another day, another boa- New boa at a new spot for me in Marin County, about 10 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge! Hoping to find one in San Francisco proper soon!

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Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: August 9th, 2016, 9:52 am
by Jimi
Cool. That Marin animal is brimming with health.

I just got my lifer Montana boa last week, southeast of Missoula. Saw him from the backseat of my 4-Runner, wife driving, in-laws in the car on a scenic drive. Luckily she didn't smash him, he was near the road's edge. Here's her best cell-phone snap:

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On the crawl at 3 PM, air temp 80F, sunny/smoky day. Big male. On a gravel road with west-facing talus and ponderosa/Doug fir timber on one side, and the willowy/sedgy riparian zone of Rock Creek (trib to Clark Fork) on the other. Maybe 3500' elevation? Epic boa habitat.

Good hunting in the city! I would think boa populations could survive alright in little habitat fragments like the Presidio. Rodent populations are probably sky-high due to human subsidy. They may be tainted with rodenticides, metals, etc...but that's another topic entirely.

cheers

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: August 9th, 2016, 11:29 am
by SurfinHerp
Very nice Marin County boa Zach!

Hope you find one in SF someday soon...

Jeff

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: August 13th, 2016, 8:51 pm
by Zach_Lim
Jimi- that is a great boa! And what a cool place to find one!

Jeff- thanks man! It was a beauty! Got many boards set up now in the presidio and at some "historic" (based on CAS records) in the city, so fingers crossed soon!

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: August 13th, 2016, 10:16 pm
by Brian Hubbs
Great boa finds Zach! I used to look for those when I lived in the Sierra's, and at a single outcrop about the size of a garage we managed to document 39 boas, including juveniles. It was amazing, but other locations yielded similar numbers, as long as you weren't in zonata habitat. While exploring an abandoned logging camp and mill, my wife found a piece of buried black plastic around the base of an old stump. She started pulling the plastic up out of the ground and found 7 boas underneath it. They are truly an abundant species.

Re: Rubber Boas!

Posted: August 13th, 2016, 11:09 pm
by stlouisdude
Brian, they are so rare in Oregon that they are a protected species.