July 28, 2012
While out on evening rounds on the far side of Burntboot Creek, I pause for a moment. There is something in the trail! Looking down I see something that slightly resembles a coiled-up stick. The ‘stick’ senses my vibration and begins to stretch out. For a moment I wonder which way it is going to slither off to, for this snake has two heads! The Pacific rubber boa (Charina b. bottae), related to anacondas, is one of the smallest species of constrictor snakes and is aptly nicknamed two-headed snake; their short, blunt tail resembles the head.
Slowly, I bend down and gently pick up the snake while speaking softly, reassuring him or her that I mean no harm. The boa’s scales are rubbery feeling as it weaves in-between my fingers. Unlike our resident rubber boa that lives up near the hot springs, this one is less docile, much larger (just over two feet in length) and is more of the traditional color, a dark olive green brown hue with a bright light green underbelly.
The smaller resident boa is about a foot in length and is mostly pale brown in color, making it look kind of like a giant worm. Our resident boa is often spotted around the springs during the evening and in one funny incident dropped out of the overhanging cedar tree onto unsuspecting soakers after dark scaring them half-to-death. I’m sure the snake was just as frightened as well.
I un-holstered my radio to contact Lissa who was back at the cabin and would be jealous if she didn’t get a chance to see this beautiful snake. A few minutes later she meets me the log-bridge crossing over Burntboot and gets a chance to view the lovely creature. Together, we release the boa back to the spot in the trail where I found it and it slithers away into the vegetation burrowing itself into the forest duff. We marvel at just how lucky we’ve been to see these cool reptiles.