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Rubber Boa - Charina bottae

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Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
FWP Conservation Tier: 2


 

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General Description
This snake looks and feels like rubber, hence its name. It is a small, shiny, stout snake (12 to 28 inches) with very small eyes and a blunt tail. The scales are small and smooth, except for those on the head, which are enlarged. Dorsum of adult is plain brown to olive green, venter is cream to yellow, sometimes with dark flecks or brown, orange, or black mottling; young are pinkish to tan above, light yellow to pink below. Top of head is covered with large symmetrical plates; pupil is vertically oval. Males and some females have a spur on each side in the anal region. Total length of adults usually is 35 to 83 cm (Stebbins 1985).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The Eastern Racer is much more active, has larger eyes, and has a thin, tapered tail.

General Distribution
Montana Range



Western Hemisphere Range

 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 243

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)



Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
Rubber Boas are secretive, slow-moving, docile snakes, usually found under logs and rocks in either moist or dry forest habitats. They are primarily nocturnal, but occasionally may be observed sunning on roads, trails, or in open areas. They feed primarily on small mice but also take shrews, salamanders, snakes, and lizards. Two to eight young are born alive in late summer or early fall. In Mission Mountains, were usually found in large talus slides or under logs/rocks near slides (Brunson and Demaree 1951) or in leaf-litter in deep shaded Douglas-fir/cedar forest (Franz 1971). Often found in areas with many flat rocks and near water (Baxter and Stone 1980).

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
    How Associations Were Made
    We associated the use and habitat quality (high, medium, or low) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
    1. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2001, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species’ range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point database associated with each ecological system;
    4. Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of “observations versus availability of habitat”.
    Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.  In general, species were associated as using an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.  However, species were not associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if point observations were associated with that system.  High, medium, and low habitat quality was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species in the literature.  The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignments of habitat quality.  If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact Bryce Maxell at bmaxell@mt.gov or (406) 444-3655.

    Suggested Uses and Limitations
    Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.  These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.  Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.  Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.  Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).  Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species’ known geographic range.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2001.  The wild mammals of Montana.  Special Publication No. 12.  Lawrence, KS: The American Society of Mammalogists.  278 p.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana’s amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
One found dead on road contained a Microtus longicaudus (Brunson and Demaree 1951).

Ecology
In western OR, found in variety of habitats except areas with regular grazing or cultivation, or areas periodically flooded (Hower 1974). Largely crepuscular or nocturnal (Stebbins 1954).

Reproductive Characteristics
Probably mate later inland. In eastern OR, mate late April to early May. Young usually born in September (Nussbaum 1983). Reported parturition dates are September (UT) and September 20 to 21 (WA). Average number of young is 4.4 (2 to 8) (Fitch and Fleet 1970).

References
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View WorldCat Record   View Online Publication
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    • [WESTECH] Western Technology and Engineering Incorporated. 1993. Diamond Hill project wildlife baseline survey. Western Technology and Engineering, Inc., Helena, MT.
    • Agerter, K.S. 1932. A record snake found. Yellowstone Nature Notes 9(6-7): 33-34.
    • Albertson, H. 1928. A new genus for Yellowstone. Yellowstone Nature Notes 5(9): 6-7.
    • Bartholomew, B.D. and C. Lleyson. 1993. Charina bottae (rubber boa). Food. Herpetological Review 24(3): 105-106.
    • Blainville, H.M.D. 1835. Nouvelles Annales du Museum D'Histoire Naturelle De Paris, Vol. 4, p. 289, pl. 26, figs. 1, 1b.
    • Boundy, J. 2001. Herpetofaunal surveys in the Clark Fork Valley region, Montana. Herpetological Natural History 8: 15-26.
    • Brunson, R. B. and H. A. Demaree, Jr. 1951. The herpetology of the Mission Mountains, Montana. Copeia (4):306-308.
    • Brunson, R.B. 1955. Check list of the amphibians and reptiles of Montana. Proceedings of the Montana Academy of Sciences 15: 27-29.
    • Carpenter, C.C. 1953. An ecological survey of the herpetofauna of the Grand Teton-Jackson Hole area of Wyoming. Copeia 1953: 170-174.
    • Cope, E.D. 1875. Check-list of North American Batrachia and Reptilia; with a systematic list of the higher groups, and an essay on geographical distribution. Based on the specimens contained in the U.S. National Museum. U.S. Natioanl Museum Bulletin 1: 1-104.
    • Copper, W.A., C.P. Ohmart, and D.L. Dahlsten. 1978. Predation by a rubber boa on chestnut-backed chickadees in an artificial nesting site. Western Birds 9(1):41-42.
    • Crother, B.I. (ed.) 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico. SSAR Herpetological Circular No. 37:1-84.
    • Cunningham, J.D. 1966b. Observations on the taxonomy and natural history of the rubber boa, Charina bottae. Southwest Naturalist 11: 298-299.
    • Devitt, T.J., R.I. Hill, and S.E. Cameron. 2005. Charina bottae (rubber boa). Diet. Herpetological Review 36(2):189-190.
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    • Dorcas, M.E. and C.R. Peterson. 1997. Head-body temperature differences in free-ranging rubber boas. Journal of Herpetology 31(1): 87-93.
    • Dorcas, M.E., C.R. Peterson, and M.E.T. Flint. 1997. The thermal biology of digestion in rubber boas (Charina bottae): physiology, behavior, and environmental constraints. Physiological Zoology 70(3): 292-300.
    • Erwin, D.B. 1964. Some findings on newborn rubber boas, Charina b. bottae. Copeia 1964: 222-223.
    • Erwin, D.B. 1974. Taxonomic status of the southern rubber boa, Charina bottae umbratica. Copeia 1974: 996-997.
    • Farmer, P. and S.B. Heath. 1987. Wildlife baseline inventory, Rock Creek study area, Sanders County, Montana. Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. Helena, MT.
    • Franz, R. 1971. Notes on the distribution and ecology of the herpetofauna of northwestern Montana. Bulletin of the Maryland Herpetological Society 7: 1-10.
    • Gomez, L.M., K.W. Larsen, and P. Walton. 2004. 'Snake Talks' in the classroom: Do they influence children's attitudes? Herpetological Review 35(4):338-341.
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    • Hendricks, P. 1997. Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge preliminary amphibian and reptile investigations: 1996. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 21 p.
    • Hendricks, P. and J. D. Reichel. 1996. Amphibian and reptile survey of the Bitterroot National Forest: 1995. Montana Natural Heritage Program. Helena, MT. 95 p.
    • Hoyer, R.F. 1974. Description of a rubber boa (Charina bottae) population from western Oregon. Herpetologica 30(3): 275-283.
    • Hoyer, R.F. and G.R. Stewart. 2000a. Biology of the rubber boa (Charina bottae), with emphasis on C.b. umbratica. Part I: Capture, size, sexual dimorphism, and reproduction. Journal of Herpetology 34(3): 348-354.
    • Hoyer, R.F. and G.R. Stewart. 2000b. Biology of the rubber boa (Charina bottae), with emphasis on C.b. umbratica. Part II: Diet, antagonists, and predators. Journal of Herpetology 34(3): 354-360.
    • Kaban, L.W. 1978. A comparative study of organ placement in Charina bottae and Lichanura roseofusca (Serpentes: Boidae). M.S. Thesis, California State University (Long Beach). 77 p.
    • Klauber, L.M. 1943b. The subspecies of the rubber boa, Charina. Transactions of the San Diego Society of Natural History 10(7): 83-90.
    • Kluge, A.G. 1993. Calabaria and the phylogeny of erycine snakes. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 107(4): 293-351.
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    • Koch, E. D. and C. R. Peterson. 1995. Amphibians and reptiles of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, UT. 188 p.
    • Koch, E.D. and C.R. Peterson. 1989. A preliminary survey of the distribution of amphibians and reptiles in Yellowstone National Park. pp. 47-49. In: Rare, sensitive and threatened species of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, T.W. Clark, A.H. Harvey, R.D. Dorn, D.C. Genter, and C. Groves (eds.), Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative , Montana Natural Heritage Program, The Nature Conservancy, and Mountain West Environmental Services. 153 p.
    • Linder, A.D. 1963. Ophiophagy by the rubber boa. Herpetologica 19(2): 143.
    • Macey, R.J. 1983. Charina bottae bottae (Pacific rubber boa). Food. Herpetological Review 14(1):19.
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    • Maxell, B.A. 2002a. Amphibian and aquatic reptile inventories in watersheds in the South and Middle Forks of the Flathead River drainage that contain lakes being considered for application of piscicides and subsequent stocking of west slope cutthroat trout. Report to the Region 1 Office of the U.S. Forest Service and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit and Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana, Missoula, MT. 62 pp.
    • Michaels, S.J. 1985a. Candoia carinata (Solomon Island boa). Ophiophagy. Herpetological Review 16(2) 1985: 54.
    • Michaels, S.J. 1985b. Orphiophagy in two captive boids, Eunectes murinus and Candoia carinata paulsoni. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 20(1): 25-26.
    • Nussbaum, R. A., E. D. Brodie, Jr., and R. M. Storm. 1983. Amphibians and reptiles of the Pacific Northwest. University of Idaho Press. Moscow, ID. 332 p.
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    • Patla, D.A. 1999a. Amphibians and reptiles along the grand loop road in Yellowstone National Park: Canyon Junction to Fishing Bridge Junction. December 11, 1999. Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Amphibian Survey and Monitoring Program, Herpetology Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID. 24 p.
    • Patla, D.A. 1999b. Amphibians and reptiles of the Madison to Norris road improvement project area, Yellowstone National Park. 11 November, 1999. Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Amphibian Survey and Monitoring Program, Herpetology Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID. 17 p.
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Rubber Boa — Charina bottae.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on August 29, 2014, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/detail_ARADA01010.aspx
 
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