Rubber Boa

Charina bottae

Status

Special Concern (Federal)
Blue-Listed (Provincial)

Description

Non-venomous Rubber Boas are short and stout snakes with a blunt, rounded tail that resembles the head. The tail is used as a distraction during predator evasion. The back is uniformly brown, sometimes slightly greyish, yellow, or green and the belly is a creamy yellow colour. Juveniles are pale all over. Eyes are very tiny with vertical "cat's eye" pupils. A Rubber Boa's scales are very small, giving the snake a smooth "rubbery" appearance.

Habitat

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In B.C., the Northern Rubber Boa occurs in humid mountainous regions and dry lowland areas, frequently associated with rock outcrops, rock piles, rock bluffs, or talus slopes. In the forested areas, the snakes are frequently in clearings, although under or near rocks. Habitat features include soils loose enough for burrowing, rodent holes, leaf litter, woody debris, and talus slopes. Rock outcrops and talus slopes are also used as hibernacula, although the Rubber Boa may also overwinter in deep in forest soils or compost.

They can be found throughout southern BC: north almost to Williams Lake, west to the Sechelt Peninsula (though they are less common at the coast) and east to Radium Hot Springs and Canal Flats. Rubber Boas have never been recorded in Alberta.

Threats

-Habitat loss from agricultural and urban development
-Mortality from vehicles and roads
-Mortality from industry machinery (eg tractors, mowers, logging trucks)
-Human fear and dislike of snakes (although nonvenomous, this snake resembles venomous snakes in other places)

You Can Help!

-Protect grassland-shrub-steppe and rugged terrain habitats including those with natural vegetation litter
-Avoid development of rocky areas and disrupting dens and nesting sites
-Leave rocks, woody debris, logs, vegetation, and other areas undisturbed
-Keep pets indoors
-Be mindful of snakes crossing roadways
-Check agricultural machinery before and during use
-Educate others on the importance of snakes

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