Friday, July 30, 2010

Rubber boa

Charina bottae. Found this fellow during yesterday's morning hike. She* was the exact same color as the banana slug I'd just stepped over and it made me do a double-take. I wish I'd brought my good camera with me (every time I leave it at home, I find something cool to photograph. Why don't I ever learn my lesson?) They aren't rare around here, but you don't see them very often out on the surface, especially during the day.

I love rubber boas. When I was a kid there were a couple of resident ones that lived near our barn. I could usually find them under a certain peice of old plywood, and you could tell the individuals by the unique scarring pattern around their tails. Scars that they get from furious mommy mice. The snakes fend off the parents, who think they're attacking the snake's head, while it gets busy eating all the babies in the nest.

They're odd little snakes. Very docile and slow moving. Easy for a kid to catch and handle. I'm told that they can musk you, but I think it would take some very rough handling for that to happen. They have a blunt tail that looks like their head (or is it that their head looks like their tail?) When I picked her* up, she immediately hid her head and stuck out her tail.

*I don't actually know how to sex a rubber boa.


Jess said...

I wasn't sure if they had visible spurs like 'regular' boas so I looked it up, and indeed they do. The males have visible spurs, the females don't.

Learn something new every day.

CyborgSuzy said...

Jess, that's good to know. It's nice of them to have an external way of telling the difference. Unlike those inconsiderate colubrids.