[Naturalist Notebook] Rubber Boas Arrive

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The bouncing babies arrived yesterday afternoon, pretty chilled. They seem to have recuperated now and are quite active, especially when exposed to human skin (ie delicious mammal body heat).

Rubber boas are nocturnal, live-bearing members of the boa constrictor family. They don’t get much longer than about two feet and they’re pretty much the most non-aggressive snakes in the world. When threatened, they curl up, and tuck their heads beneath their bodies. They then expose their little blunt tails, which look exactly like their heads, to the threat. A bony plate in the tail protects their delicate insides from mouse bites, bird beak jabs, and other small traumas. (You can see a pic of one of these guys doing the display here) The second pic may give you an idea of why they’re called “rubber” boas; their extra skin curves into rolls where they twist!

Rubber Boas specialize in nest-raiding. They’re small and great at burrowing, so they easily get into rodent nests to pilfer babies. They’ve also adapted to survive long periods without tons of food because it’s not always easy to come across nests or itty bitty rodents. In captivity, they retain their instinct to raid nests and sometimes enjoy “finding” hidden pinkies. I found this rabbit toy and decided it looked like a nest to me, so next time I feed, I’m going to put the pinkies in here and see if the snakes go for it.

I’m really excited about these little critters, but I have to find a secure tank for them – rubber boas are master escape artists!

You can bet your bottoms you’ll be hearing more about these little guys in the future. In fact, they need names. I have a male and a female.

Any suggestions? :)

(See more here!)

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Posted on November 24, 2010, in Fauna and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Names ? Yin and yang? Great shots and wonderful to see new life.

  2. yikes! they’re cute. the twist of their bodies remind me of fiddleheads. Call one cello and the other viola…after the stringed instruments.

  3. Love these little guys. They are wonderful to ahve around and love to be on branches and where it is some what normal house temps. Now the babies will grow and people will ask: “what do you feed them?,and ” where is their heads?” It is nice to know they are natives to Oregon. I had them on Bald Peak outside of Hillsboro and in Gaston too. They are child loveable creatures, gentle and slow moving.
    Congratulations.

  4. Whoa, that’s so awesome! I have two of them myself. What is the locality of these guys? Let me knwo if you have any questions at all about their care.

    • Bryan, I would LOVE any info you’d want to share! The breeder hasn’t been terribly helpful and besides one website, there’s not a lot of info on their captive care! It seems like they just refuse to eat – is it because it’s winter? I would love to pick your brain! Thanks :)

  5. Hi there,
    I love your pics of the Rubber Boas. I am writing an article for our magazine, Mountain Valley Living, (site listed)and would love to use some of your pics in my article. Do you also have pics of the adult being handled?
    Eager to hear from you,
    Melissa Wynn
    Editorial Director
    Mountain Valley Living Magazine
    melissa@mountainvalleyliving.com

  6. These are, quite honestly, one of my top favorite snake species (and that’s saying quite a lot). not only due to their fascinatingly cute and unusual appearance, but so much of their personality and temperament as well. Keep in mind that these are cold-loving snakes with unusually slow metabolism rates, and prefer temperatures in the low sixties. Room temperature is usually fine, and anything above that might be stressful or even fatal- with a maximum functioning temp of under 100 degrees (more in the low nineties), they are very susceptible to overheating. There shouldn’t be any problems with it overheating from your body, so no need to worry too much about that. Just be sure to have a cold side/hide available at all times. I find that a water dish with an ice cube or two put in daily works great, under a hide or not. Don’t worry about freezing, they’re nocturnal, and have even been seen active in their natural habitat making their way across snow drifts! Definitely a long0lived species, with one individual recorded to be over 60 years old, and still living today. So, with the proper care, you should be expecting to have these for a while. If by any chance that doesn’t work out, you can always send them to me! XD
    Website not mine, but you’ll find all the info you need http://www.rubberboas.com/

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