This small snake is one of just two boas found in North America, where it lives in damp woodlands and mountain conifer forests in the west of the continent. Rubber boas are burrowers, as well as good swimmers, so they are especially common in sandy areas close to streams. Their small, blunt head and sturdy body help them to force their way through soft soil. Rubber boas are crepuscular, spending the day underground and coming to the surface around dusk or just before dawn.
With a short, rounded snout and an equally blunt tail, this snake looks as if it has two heads. The dark and matt scales on its body give the snake a rubbery appearance and texture. It varies in coloration from tan to olive-green.
The prey of rubber boas consists of small mammals, lizards, and birds, which the snakes kill by constriction. Usually active in the evening and at night, it is a good burrower and swimmer and can climb, using its prehensile tail. These snakes hunt on the ground, but they also use their slender, prehensile tail to climb into shrubs and the lower branches of trees. If danger threatens, a rubber boa will slither under a rock or burrow into sand or leaf litter.
This species does not lay eggs. Instead, the female retains the eggs inside her body until they hatch. When the young emerge, they are miniature versions of the adults. Young rubber boas prey on insects, salamanders, frogs and other small woodland animals.
Distribution: British Columbia to Utah and southern California.
Habitat: Damp woodland and coniferous forest.
Food: Small mammals, birds and lizards.
Size: 35.5 - 84 cm (14 - 33 in).
Breeding: 2 - 8 young born in late summer.
Life span: 10 years.