at Sat Feb 25 00:29:14 2012 [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by RichardFHoyer ]
The distribution of the Rubber Boa covers much of Idaho. If they do not occur right around where you reside, the species likely occurs not all that far away regardless of where you reside in Idaho. I have traveled to and from Utah a number of times and about 20 -25 miles from the Utah border along I-84, I have found the species at rock outcrops on both sides of the freeway in grassland / sage / bitter brush habitat at near 5000 feet elevation. There even is some species of cactus in the area. So if you have similar habitat at similar elevation near where you live, the species should be present.
Without the presence of artificial cover objects under which to make searches, then the only other two ways I know of finding the species with reasonable frequency is either night driving or turning natural cover objects mainly in the form of rocks. Does your area have the type of habitat I describe above and at around 4500 feet or above and with some rock outcrops? Then that is a place to do your searching but be prepared to turn tons of rock. And you enhance your chance of finding the species by going out at the right time of year, late winter (mid March) and during the spring months, and with the right amount of sunlight and suitable temperature conditions.
My son in Utah has observed boas at a den site along a road at the outskirts of Salt Lake City during the month of February even with snow in the vicinity. But you need sunshine for a few days prior to making searches plus temperatures near or better yet, above 50 degrees F. in order to have a decent chance of boas emerging at this time of year. Later in mid March and thereafter with temperatures in the mid 50's or above and again with several preceding days of sunshine to warm surface temperatures, the chances of finding the species increases.
And Hoggymomma, have you established tracts of artificial cover object in known boa habitat in the hills of Contra Costa County? Or have you found junky spots with trash that can be turned in boa habitat? It seems to me the area near Santa Rosa was not prime boa habitat but it has been some time since the exchange of posts so I could be mistaken.
Two years ago, I met some herpers from the Bay Area that took me to a couple of sites in the Santa Cruz Mts. south of San Francisco. Both sites contained numerous pieces of discarded plywood, roofing tins, boards, and other trash. I believe the date was April 23 and conditions were clearly choice as we encountered 16 boas in about 1 1/2 hours. I remained at the site until about 5 PM, after the others had left, in order to complete recording data on each specimens so they could be release where found. The key is being able to turn a large quantity of cover objects, be it artificial or natural cover.
Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)
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