SF Bay Area Rubber boa Herping Advice?

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singeyan
Posts: 2
Joined: July 21st, 2019, 9:06 am

SF Bay Area Rubber boa Herping Advice?

Post by singeyan » August 27th, 2019, 10:37 pm

First off, hi! This is my first post, hopefully it’s in the right place. (Sorry for the noobieness)
I’m pretty new to herping, I took a class and it started from there.
Unfortunately each time I’ve tried to go myself, if had little to no luck... it feels like I’m shooting blind haha. :crazyeyes: and is sometimes discouraging after many long attempts coming out seeing only birds and with feet full of grass again and again...
I know there are a lot of factors, like time of day, time of year, spec. Locations, etc... and that sometimes nothing turns up.
I was planning on going to Santa Cruz soon to look for rubber boas (because they’re adorable duh) but was wondering if someone could help give me a place to start. I know they are found in grasslands and woody areas often under rotting logs and on cooler days. Does anyone have any more specific spots? (PMs would be greatly appreciated) or certain parks, etc?

Any advice would be really appreciated as I would really like to start doing more herping :)
Thanks!
Yani

AEthelred
Posts: 14
Joined: July 16th, 2019, 9:56 am
Location: North Adams,Massachusetts

Re: SF Bay Area Rubber boa Herping Advice?

Post by AEthelred » August 28th, 2019, 8:36 am

You got there habitat down for sure.you have done your research that's for sure.If you can find that habitat you should be successful.animals need a certain habitat and if you find the habitat you can usually find the animal or reptile.if your lucky enough to find someone here who knows Santa Cruz that would be even better

Jimi
Posts: 1867
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: SF Bay Area Rubber boa Herping Advice?

Post by Jimi » August 28th, 2019, 2:41 pm

My guess would be, your timing is awful. But I don't know that area very well, for herps anyway.

Good hunting.

singeyan
Posts: 2
Joined: July 21st, 2019, 9:06 am

Re: SF Bay Area Rubber boa Herping Advice?

Post by singeyan » August 30th, 2019, 1:40 am

Thanks for the replies! :)
I think my problem is I just don’t know where to start. I know the type of habitat they live in just not really where to find it... and I seem to end up aimlessly driving around without knowing where to go :crazyeyes: . I guess I can try some of the state parks, and looking them up in google images 🤔

AEthelred
Posts: 14
Joined: July 16th, 2019, 9:56 am
Location: North Adams,Massachusetts

Re: SF Bay Area Rubber boa Herping Advice?

Post by AEthelred » August 30th, 2019, 4:38 am

Try Talking to the locals.stop at a store that sells outdoor supplies or a gun store.hunters know terrain.ask people at those types of stores,they may know where to go

Richard F. Hoyer
Posts: 582
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:14 pm

Re: SF Bay Area Rubber boa Herping Advice?

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » August 30th, 2019, 9:59 am

Yani,
There are several herpers that at one time, have been participants on this forum that are knowledgeable about finding herps in the Santa Cruz Mts. of San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara Counties. Zach Lim is one such herper. He now lives in Atlanta and not certain if he frequents this forum any longer.

I am from Oregon so my experience in the the Santa Cruz Mts. is very limited. But what little time I did spend there making searches, it is my view that in much of that region, there isn’t a great deal of natural cover objects under which to make searches. So finding areas with some artificial cover strewn about offers the best possibility of finding snakes in particular. A second problem is that much of the land it privately owned.

During the brief time I made searches in that region, my focus was on two species, the Forest Sharp-tailed Snake and the Rubber Boa. In about 1999, I searched an embankment on the east side of Skyline (Hwy. 35?) just south of the intersection with Hwy. 9. I found one Forest Sharp-tail under a small rock or perhaps under some leaf litter against that embankment. On the opposite side of the Hwy., I found a N All. lizard under some cardboard.

A few miles south along Skyline, I found a junky area on the west side and observed both species of alligator lizards and possibly a garter snake.

I also made searches on both sides of Hwy. 9 about a mile or two down from Skyline towards Saratoga. On both side of the highway were some scattered rocks and some small pieces of junk on the north side berm. I came across a couple of small garter snakes and a Ringneck Snake on the north side and found two Forest Sharp-tailed Snakes under small rocks on the south side of the highway. The month was either late April or early May.

At another time, I accompany my son Ryan and Mitch Mulks to one of Mitch’s zonata study sites. The area was an old mining site strewn with much artificial cover. As I recall, we encountered a number of snakes under such cover including one boa. That habitat was mixed grassland, brush, in amongst deciduous and coniferous tree stands. Again, the month was early May or late April.

Then about 8 - 10 years ago, I accompanied some herpers to sites in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties where they had observed both species of Sharp-tailed Snakes and Rubber Boas. At two junky sites in San Mateo County, in about 2 – 2 1/2 hours, we came up with 15 Rubber Boas. I believe it was in late April and clearly, the conditions for finding the species were optimum that day. We also encountered a good number of garter snakes (two species I believe) and as I recall, a Racer or two, perhaps a Gopher Snake, and a few Fence and S. Alligator Lizards.

It is my understanding that one of those junky sites has since been ‘bulldozed’. The other area is on private property and they had acquired permission ahead of time to conduct searches. The area had a great number of roofing tins, plywood and other board, and other junk that could be turned. Some of the habitat was open grassland and some was a combination of brush and grassland with few trees.

It is my view that the Rubber Boa occurs in all types of habitat in the Santa Cruz Mts. from close to the ocean beaches up to the spine on those shallow mountains along Skyline. So the time of year, time of day, weather conditions before and during your searches, temperature, and moisture conditions are the factors that can affect success. My son Ryan and Mitch Mulks also found one boa by road cruising at night.

Your chances of finding the boa might be best if you can make searches this coming late summer or fall (Oct.) after temperatures have declined and a couple of Pacific storms have dumped some rain in that region.

You mention, “I think my problem is I just don’t know where to start.“ So from my vantage point, you need to spend time in finding, and having access to areas that have natural and/or artificial cover to turn. That all takes time.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)

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