The Southern Rubber Boa is Not Your Typical Rubber Snake!

Dec 19, 2020 | MSHCP, Species

Southern Rubber Boa

The RCA December Species of the Month is a flesh-like serpent, the Southern Rubber Boa. This snake is one of the 146 species protected by the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP) implemented by the RCA.

The Southern Rubber Boa, also known as Charina bottae umbratica, is a nonvenomous member of the Boa family that usually grows to one to three feet in length. It is a very rare subspecies of the Rubber Boa that can only be found in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains. They tend to live in underground burrows and hibernate during winter months in rotting stumps, rock outcrops, or other earthy hideaways until emerging in the spring.

In addition to being expert burrowers, these reptiles are excellent swimmers and climbers. They are constrictors like most in the Boa family, coiling around and suffocating their prey. Since they are not a large species, their prey consists of small lizards, rodents, and other snakes. These strange looking little snakes tend to roll into a ball when threatened or disturbed, protecting their head deep within their coils often elevating their head-like tails as a decoy.

The Southern Rubber Boa is listed as a threatened species, and the RCA’s partner, the U.S. Forest Service, is proactively working to preserve them in western Riverside County by protecting at least 2,577 acres of suitable habitat in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains. Monitoring objectives have been met through a partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey.