Monday, May 18, 2009

Rubber Boa

The Conservancy's North Idaho land steward, Justin Petty, was recently lucky enough to find this creature--a rubber boa--while hiking in the Selkirk Mountains, near Boundary Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Boas in Idaho? It may seem strange to find a boa, a snake in the same family as the boa constrictor and anaconda, in Idaho's forests. The rubber boa is actually one of only two boa species found in North America.

The rubber boa is a very docile reptile; in fact, it is often used by therapists to help people overcome severe phobias to snakes.
It has a flat tail that looks like a second head. The snake raids mice and shrew nests, and that "second head" serves as a decoy so that animals defending their nests bite the tail instead of the head.
Rubber boas are not at all rare. But count yourself lucky if you see one: They are mainly active at night, and are very secretive, so most Idahoans never know they're around.
The North Idaho forests hold many interesting species. While most people hope to see a grizzly bear or a caribou or a wolverine, keep an eye out for other creatures, too. There just may be a boa under your feet.--Matt Miller
Photos by Justin Petty.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

i have actually found 2 of these critters in idaho, one just a week ago near idaho city, trying to find it on the internet, was at best fairly difficult, as all of the web notes dont list it. so i went to washingtons site, and lo and behold, i found it. rubber boa, who'd'a thunk it?

Anonymous said...

I found one of these near Kendrick Idaho and have been up on the web all night trying to figure out what it was

April said...

We saw one that was on its last legs (ha) on the trail to Meadow Creek Cabin past Selway Falls.

Jaki said...

I just surprised what I believe to be a rubber boa sunning itself on my patio in the city. I wondered why I haven't seen any mice yet this season. At first I thought I had forgotten to put the hose away and then remembered that the hose wasn't tan. I hope he/she sticks around. They are preferable
to mice.

Jbenjimac said...

I found a live one on the trail next to cub river at Willowflats campground. Also a dead one that had been driven over near the campground.

Jbenjimac said...

I found one trailside next to the cub river headed up towards the spring. We also found a roadkill one in the campground. I was very suprised to find we have a boa in Idaho.

Jeffrey Spence said...

After finding your blog, I checked my field notes from geologic mapping on a ridge, north of the Salmon River, near Shoup Idaho in Aug 1979, I had noted a strong rubber smell at 7600', before discovering an 18" wormlike snake coiled up with its tail protruding, and head concealed. I left it alone. A reclusive friend recognized the creature which I described as a rubber boa.

Jeff Spence

Jeffrey Spence said...

After finding your blog, I checked my field notes from geologic mapping on a ridge, north of the Salmon River, near Shoup Idaho in Aug 1979, I had noted a strong rubber smell at 7600', before discovering an 18" wormlike snake coiled up with its tail protruding, and head concealed. I left it alone. A reclusive friend recognized the creature which I described as a rubber boa.

Jeff Spence

Anonymous said...

Just found one in my yard in Coeur d Alene. Had no idea what it was until I found this site.

dustin chandler said...

Found two within a half mile of each other stretched across a dirt road near Arbon valley in late September. North bull canyon road. Picked them up and showed them to my little girl got her to hold it and relocated them both to the side of the road.