Rubber Boa

Charina bottae

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Status

Special Concern (Federal)
Blue List (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 blush-tan 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

Riparian
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Forest
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Grassland
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Rocky terrain
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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, or talus (loose rock) 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 loose rock. Rock outcrops and talus slopes are used as hibernacula, though they may also overwinter in deep forest soils or compost.

Rubber Boas can be found throughout southern BC: north almost to Williams Lake, west to the Sechelt Peninsula (though 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

Photo: Lisa Scott
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Photo: Sara Ashpole
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Photo: Tyler Brightman
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