An adult rubber boa
1- Calabar Python :
Adapted to burrowing, the Calabar python's body is cylindrical with a blunt head and equally blunt tail. The head is covered with enlarged shields used for protection and for burrowing into the ground. The shape of the tail closely resembles that of the head, which is most likely used to confuse predators. This snake lives in the moist rainforests of west and central Africa, but can be found as far east as Lake Kivu.
Other Pythons :
The African Burrowing "Python"
courtesy to : www.kingsnake.com/sandboa/calabar.html
Other names :
Calabaria, Calabar Python, West African Burrowing Python, Burrowing Python, West African Ground Python.
Most of these names suffer from the unfortunate use of the word "Python". The relationship of these snakes to other Boids is a matter of some conjecture. Some authors regard this snake as a Erycine, but the evidence for this is somewhat equivocal. See the taxonomy page for a further discussion of Calabaria systematics.
Calabaria are unusual snakes. They are much more remniscent of a large Blind Snake (e.g. Typhlops, Leptotyphlops , etc.) than a boid. Although this species has been associated with the Erycines since its description (it was actually described as a member of the genus Eryx by Schlegel in 1851), they are different from all other Erycines in that they are oviparous (= egg laying). Because many of the characteristics they share with the Erycinae could be a result of sharing a fossorial (burrowing) lifestyle, their relationship to the Erycines (and boids in general) remains open for debate.
Adults rarely exceed 3 feet in length. This snake is found in western tropical Africa, from Sierra Leone, east to northern Zaire. It has been found in rocky secondary forest and overgrown plantations with dense undergrowth. Several authors report finding the snake on the forest floor with some significant leaf cover.
It has been found on the ground and over 1 meter above the ground in small bushes or climbing on fallen logs. Although it has been reported to be nocturnal, Gartlan and Struhsaker found several individuals actively foraging (and even eating) during the day. There are records of activity from at least early September until late March.
There is little published information on the behavior of wild Calabaria. It has been observed to eat mice and has been found on several occasions raiding mouse nests. These snakes are expert constrictors of small rodents and prefer them as food in captivity. They can easily constrict four or more nestlings at one time, a skill which is very useful to a potential nest robber.
This snake is famous for rolling in a ball when threatened. The ball it rolls into is tight and the head is often, but not always, placed at the center of the ball.
It also has a curious habit of head faking with its tail. When first disturbed, the snake will freeze, pressing its chin down firmly onto the ground. Then it will lift its tail slightly and move it gently back and forth, like a head. Considering how similar the head and tail of this species look, it is quite hard to tell which end is up! Many specimens also have some white scales (or even a white band) around the base of the tail, further attracting attention to the false head.
Calabaria make no attempt to bite when handled.
Captive Maintenance :
Calabaria are relatively easy snakes to keep in captivity if you are prepared to meet a few of their needs. They are very shy snakes and require at least one (more is better) secure hide box. They seem to prefer cramped hide boxes to roomy ones. They do not require large enclosures (they have bred in ten gallon aquaria) but they do require constant access to clean water. I have noticed they seem to "enjoy" having the cage misted once a week or so.
Some imported Calabaria will take to pre-killed mice right from the start. Females seem to be better about this than males. Others are a little more fussy. They prefer small rodents and are particularly fond of fuzzy mouse and rat nestlings. Some will refuse hopper mice, yet willingly take a rat fuzzy that is significantly larger! They can usually be stimulated to feed by offering several smaller food items (i.e. a nest full of rodents). Even a newly imported picky male can usually be tempted to eat by offering a clutch of rat or mouse fuzzies!
They will often take 4 or more fuzzy rats/mice in one feeding. I have been able to stimulate the "nest robbing" reflex in shy Calabaria by offering one small fuzzy and then pressing a few others along the sides of the snake while it is subduing the first. The snake's instinctive response is to try and press that "escaping" baby against the wall of the cage and hold it here until it is done with the first one. Usually I can get a snake to take three or four mice at a feeding that way.
Captive Reproduction :
Very few people have succesfully bred Calabaria in captivity. A few people have successfully hatched eggs laid by wild caught gravid females. For an excellent article on breeding Calabaria in captivity, see Rick Staub's article in the February 2001 Reptile and Amphibian Hobbyist (Vol. 6 No. 6).
Neil Chernoff has a fairly thorough discussion of his experience breeding Calabariasuccessfully for several years in a row. He also has some other interesting comments about captive reproduction in reptiles, in general. His page is an interesting read.
The following notes were sent to me by Neil regarding his successful reproduction of the species. Neil feels that the key to reproducing these shy snakes may be in providing them ample food and water, plenty of hiding places, and otherwise leaving them alone.
His male was purchased in 1993 and his female in 1994. They were kept in a ten gallon aquarium with a room temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and a heat pad under one end of the cage. The snakes reproduced in 1998. Mating was not observed. He noticed the female was very swollen towards the cloaca on June 9th. He separated her into another cage and provided her with a laying box filled with a mix of sphagnum and peat moss. This list includes some observations on the development and hatching of eggs
6/24 - Female laid 3 eggs.
6/25 - Total wt of eggs 181.2g (pre-laying wt of female 376.9).
Eggs were therefore 48% of pre-laying body weight(!).
6/26 - Moved to animal room, placed in dish on vermiculite per VPI suggestions.
Wt of eggs - 181.3g.
7/1 - Eggs - 182.2g small amount of water added to dish.
7/2 - Wt of eggs -182.7g.
7/6 - Wt of eggs -185.0 small amount of water added to dish.
7/9 - Wt of eggs -187.0
7/14 - Wt of eggs -189.7
7/22 - Wt of eggs -188.6 vermiculite dry, water added
7/24 - Wt of eggs -188.2
7/27 - Wt of eggs -187.4
7/29 - Wt of eggs -186.6
It appeared that the top egg was the most flaccid. On the assumption that contact with the moist bedding was better for weight (and noting that the top eggs of the sinaloans were the most collapsed), I placed a three inch strip of moist toweling against the side of the top egg.
7/30 - Wt of eggs -186.2
7/31 - Wt of eggs -185.9
8/10 - One egg had slits and movement (the flaccid egg on top)
it had detached from the other pair. The remaining eggs have movement.
8/11 - Snake 2 emerged from the egg
placed in a cage with pine bedding and a water bowl.
Snake 2 weighed 32.5g.
8/12 - 2nd egg is slit.
8/13 - 2nd animal emerged from egg
placed in cage with pine shavings and water bowl
Snake weighed 32.2g.
Snake 1 ate a pinkie.
8/14 - Snake 2 ate pinkie.
8/17 - Third egg beginning to rot and discarded.
Since then, Snake #1 has eaten single pinkies on 8/21 and 8/25; snake #2 has eaten on 8/21 (did not eat on 8/25). Neither snake ate on 8/26. Current (8/27) weights: snake 1 = 35.9g and snake 2 = 31.5g
Calabar Burrowing Pythons
Unboxing new calabar python (Calabaria reinhardtii)
Calabar burrowing python tail lure wiggle action
2- Rubber Boa
The rubber boa (Charina bottae) is a species of snake in the family Boidae. The species is native to the Western United States and British Columbia, Canada.
Coastal rubber boa
Tortrix bottae Blainville, 1835
Charina bottae – Gray, 1849
Wenona plumbea Baird & Girard, 1852
Wenona isabella Baird & Girard, 1852
Pseudoeryx bottae – Jan, 1862
Charina plumbea – Cope, 1883
Charina bottæ – Boulenger, 1893
The name Charina is from the Greek for graceful or delightful, and the name bottae honors Dr. Paolo E. Botta, an Italian ship's surgeon, explorer, and naturalist. The Boidae family consists of the nonvenomous snakes commonly called boas and consists of 43 species. The genus Charina consists of four species, three of which are found in North America, and one species found in Africa. It is sometimes also known as the coastal rubber boa or the northern rubber boa and is not to be confused with the southern rubber boa (Charina umbratica). There is debate on whether the southern rubber boa should be a separate species or a subspecies (Charina bottae umbratica). The only other boa species found in the United States is the rosy boa (Lichanura trivirgata).
Rubber boas are one of the smaller boa species, adults can be anywhere from 38 to 84 centimetres (1.25 to 2.76 ft) long; newborns are typically 19 to 23 centimetres (7.5 to 9.1 in) long. The common name is derived from their skin which is often loose and wrinkled and consists of small scales that are smooth and shiny, these characteristics give the snakes a rubber like look and texture. Colors are typically tan to dark brown with a lighter ventral surface but sometimes olive-green, yellow, or orange. Newborns often appear pink and slightly transparent but darken with age. Rubber boas have small eyes with vertically elliptical pupils and short blunt heads that are no wider than the body. One of the most identifiable characteristics of rubber boas is their short blunt tails that closely resemble the shape of their head. Rubber boas appear quite different visually than any other species that share the same range (except maybe for the southern rubber boa) and thus are usually easy to identify.
Rubber boas are the most northerly of boa species. The distribution of rubber boas covers a large portion of the western United States, stretching from the Pacific Coast east to western Utah and Montana, as far south as the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles in California, and as far north as southern British Columbia. There have also been rare sightings in Colorado and Alberta in addition to the states/provinces that they are known to thrive in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and extending to its northernmost range in British Columbia, this is also the highest latitude of any Boa, that is to say the closest point to either pole for a Boa.
Rubber boas have been known to inhabit a wide variety of habitat types from grassland, meadows and chaparral to deciduous and conifer forests, to high alpine settings. They can be found at elevations anywhere from sea level to over 10,000 feet (3,000 m). They are not as tolerant of higher temperatures as other snake species and cannot inhabit areas that are too hot and dry, but can live in areas that are surprisingly cold, especially for a snake. Rubber Boas also spend a large amount of time under shelter (rocks, logs, leaf litter, burrows, etc.) and thus must live in habitats that can provide this, as well as adequate warmth, moisture, and prey. It is also thought that Rubber Boas maintain a relatively small home range as many individuals are often captured in the same vicinity year after year, although individuals may occasionally migrate due to competition, lack of prey, or other pressures.
Characteristics of rubber boas behavior also set them apart from other snakes. Rubber boas are considered one of the most docile of the boa species and are often used to help people overcome their fear of snakes. Rubber Boas are known to never strike at or bite a human under any circumstances but will release a potent musk from their vent if they feel threatened. They are primarily nocturnal and likely crepuscular (active during dawn and dusk) which partially contributes to how rarely they are encountered. Because of thetemperate regions they inhabit Rubber Boas hibernate during the winter months in underground dens. Hunting – Rubber boas primarily feed on young mammals such asshrews, voles, mice, etc. When nestling mammals are encountered they will try to consume the entire litter if possible and fend off the mother with their tail, this is why individuals will often have extensive scarring on their tails. Rubber boas have also been known to prey on snake eggs, lizard eggs, lizards, young birds, young bats, and there have even been instances of them eating other snakes. Predation – Rubber boas can be preyed upon by almost any reasonably sized predator in their habitat. When threatened, Rubber Boas will curl into a ball, bury their head inside, and expose their tail to mimic their head. While this is thought to be a primary defense technique against predators, it is doubtful that this behavior is effective in most cases being that many predators are too large (raptors, coyotes, raccoons, cats, etc.). In reality the best defense of rubber boas is their secretive nature.
Rubber boas are ovoviviparous (give birth to live young) and can have up to 9 young per year, but many females will only reproduce every four years. Mating occurs shortly after reemergence from hibernation in the spring and young are born anywhere from August to November later that year.
The southern rubber boa is found only in a few disjunct areas of California.
The rubber boa is a primitive snake compared to its much larger relatives native to Latin America, which include the boa constrictor, emerald tree boa, and green anaconda. The rubber boa has retained the club-like tail of its Erycine ancestors.
It is an extremely adaptable snake. It is a good climber, burrower, and even swimmer.
The rubber boa has established populations around: Pemberton, British Columbia, Williams Lake, British Columbia, Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia.
A young rubber boa inOregon, shown with a US nickel for size comparison.
For the external links , refrences click here to read the full wikipedia article
Rubber Boa | Reptiles of BC
Adult Size: 20 to 28 inches
Range: A boa of cool northwestern North America, found from central California north into British Columbia, Canada and east to northern Nevada, Utah and Colorado.
Habitat: Typically found in moist, cool coniferous forests, rubber boas commonly live near streams or other moist areas, but sometimes can be found in relatively dry grasslands and near abandoned homes. They can survive freezing temperatures.
Captive Lifespan: More than 20 Years
Care Level: Beginner
Specimens from scattered populations in Southern California often are considered a full species, the southern rubber boa, Charina umbratica.
Rubber boas do well in a small terrarium of 10 gallons and need little in the way of special conditions. They thrive at low room temperatures (60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit) and become stressed at higher temperatures. Special lighting or heating is not desirable. Keep the terrarium relatively moist and provide a bowl of drinking water. A once-weekly soaking may help prevent dehydration. Aspen or a loose, loamy soil makes a good substrate. The species is less shy when kept in subdued light. It must have one or several hiding places, where it will spend the day in a tight ball until it becomes accustomed to the terrarium. Wild-caught specimens seldom like to be handled and remain shy, but captive-bred specimens are easy to handle.
Adults feed well on small rodents, including pinky to small adult mice, and also take lizards. Wild-caught adults may insist on feeding on lizards or frogs and can be hard to convince to take rodents, even if mice are scented with a dead lizard. Newborns often are difficult to feed and are best left to advanced keepers.
Because it is a native species, rubber boas may require special permits to be kept in several western states, including California.
Other and recommended websites :
Baby Rubber Boa
Rubber Boa Mouth Infection
Northern Rubber Boa