Rubber Boas!

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Post Reply
Zach_Lim
Posts: 1607
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 7:37 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Rubber Boas!

Post by Zach_Lim » May 17th, 2016, 12:21 pm

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!

Image

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!

Image

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

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

Image

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.

Image

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!

Image

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!

Image

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

A poorly photographed adult boa from chaparral habitat.

Image

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

hellihooks
Posts: 8025
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
Location: Hesperia, California.
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by hellihooks » May 17th, 2016, 4:10 pm

awesome stuff Zack... hope you can make it to the Ca meet... where the rubber(s) meet the road... :crazyeyes:

User avatar
the_cw1
Posts: 138
Joined: April 2nd, 2015, 7:30 am
Location: Utah
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by the_cw1 » May 17th, 2016, 4:38 pm

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

Jimi
Posts: 1860
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Jimi » May 17th, 2016, 5:50 pm

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

NACairns
Posts: 372
Joined: December 30th, 2013, 7:27 am

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by NACairns » May 17th, 2016, 6:24 pm

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

User avatar
Scott Waters
Site Admin
Posts: 682
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:08 am
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Scott Waters » May 18th, 2016, 10:42 am

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

Zach_Lim
Posts: 1607
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 7:37 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Zach_Lim » May 18th, 2016, 1:51 pm

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!

hellihooks
Posts: 8025
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
Location: Hesperia, California.
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by hellihooks » May 18th, 2016, 4:36 pm

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-)

Zach_Lim
Posts: 1607
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 7:37 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Zach_Lim » May 18th, 2016, 5:58 pm

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!

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4309
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Kelly Mc » May 18th, 2016, 7:00 pm

Really love that head portrait.

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

NACairns
Posts: 372
Joined: December 30th, 2013, 7:27 am

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by NACairns » May 18th, 2016, 8:48 pm

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

User avatar
Scott Waters
Site Admin
Posts: 682
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:08 am
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Scott Waters » May 19th, 2016, 1:08 pm

They are much bigger in the Sierra, compared to the coasties.

Knormal
Posts: 22
Joined: December 23rd, 2014, 11:32 am

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Knormal » May 19th, 2016, 3:19 pm

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.

Zach_Lim
Posts: 1607
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 7:37 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Zach_Lim » May 24th, 2016, 12:52 pm

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.

Zach_Lim
Posts: 1607
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 7:37 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Zach_Lim » May 24th, 2016, 12:57 pm

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!

Image

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

NACairns
Posts: 372
Joined: December 30th, 2013, 7:27 am

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by NACairns » May 24th, 2016, 1:08 pm

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.

User avatar
tspuckler
Posts: 353
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:40 pm

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by tspuckler » June 2nd, 2016, 8:55 am

That's a nice collection from this year, Zach! It's nice to see so much interest in this "classic" American snake.

Zach_Lim
Posts: 1607
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 7:37 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Zach_Lim » June 2nd, 2016, 9:51 am

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-

Image

Image

User avatar
RenoBart
Posts: 345
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:22 am

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by RenoBart » June 3rd, 2016, 9:29 am

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

User avatar
gbeck
Posts: 52
Joined: July 15th, 2014, 7:48 pm
Location: Utah
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by gbeck » June 10th, 2016, 6:24 pm

Here's one we found on the crawl in Utah in February-

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

Zach_Lim
Posts: 1607
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 7:37 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Zach_Lim » July 5th, 2016, 8:52 am

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!

Zach_Lim
Posts: 1607
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 7:37 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Zach_Lim » July 5th, 2016, 8:54 am

Some more Rubber Boas from June

June 9, 2016- San Mateo County, California

Image

June 28, 2016- San Mateo County, California

Image

User avatar
LouB747
Posts: 1180
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:50 am
Location: Huntington Beach, CA

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by LouB747 » July 13th, 2016, 8:24 pm

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.


User avatar
Fieldherper
Posts: 235
Joined: June 11th, 2010, 9:46 am

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Fieldherper » July 14th, 2016, 5:58 am

Nice boas Zach! One of my favorite snakes.

FH

Zach_Lim
Posts: 1607
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 7:37 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Zach_Lim » July 15th, 2016, 9:49 am

Another summer boa...

Image

Image

Image

Zach_Lim
Posts: 1607
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 7:37 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Zach_Lim » August 9th, 2016, 6:08 am

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!

Image

Jimi
Posts: 1860
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Jimi » August 9th, 2016, 9:52 am

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:

Image

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

User avatar
SurfinHerp
Posts: 655
Joined: October 18th, 2010, 7:55 pm
Location: San Diego, CA
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by SurfinHerp » August 9th, 2016, 11:29 am

Very nice Marin County boa Zach!

Hope you find one in SF someday soon...

Jeff

Zach_Lim
Posts: 1607
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 7:37 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact:

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Zach_Lim » August 13th, 2016, 8:51 pm

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!

User avatar
Brian Hubbs
Posts: 4733
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:41 am
Location: "Buy My Books"-land

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by Brian Hubbs » August 13th, 2016, 10:16 pm

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.

stlouisdude
Posts: 412
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:30 pm
Location: St Louis, MO / Hartford, CT

Re: Rubber Boas!

Post by stlouisdude » August 13th, 2016, 11:09 pm

Brian, they are so rare in Oregon that they are a protected species.

Post Reply