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Natural History By Jorden A Perrett
Natural History



Fig J.1 Head of Coastal Rosy boa - L. t. roseofusca
This javascript powered image simply highlights the appropriate head scales when the mouse pointer is moved over the name of each scale type.

Description:
Description:
Spur of male Lichanura
Img N.1 Vent of Male Lichanura - L. t. roseofusca
Males are most easily determined by the presence of spurs at the sides of the vent.

Rosy boas are a stout-bodied snake with a rather blunt finger-like tail and a smaller narrow head slightly offset from the neck. Their markings consist of three longitudinal stripes of rose to reddish-brown or dark chocolate on a lighter ground color of yellowish tan to slate gray. The stripes are either clean and straight or jagged and broken, depending on subspecies. Young are often of brighter more contrasting coloration becoming more drab with age. Their scales are smooth and in rows of 35-45 mid-dorsally. There are no large scales on the head with the exception of a oversized rostral scale. Pupils are vertical. Eyes are often grey to beige and occasionally orange. Anal spurs are present in males and most often absent (not visible) or very small in females. Caudal scales and anal plate are undivided. are Individuals are often found in the wild with multiple scars especially around the tail and are occasionally missing part of the tail.

Scales of Lichanura
Img N.2 Closeup of dorsal scales in L. t. roseofusca
Upon close inspection Rosy boas scales are not completely smooth.

   

Size:
Size:

6"-9" at birth. Adults range from 22" to 40". While many females will exceed 36" most males are shorter. In rare cases captive boas may exceed 44".

   

Habitat:
Habitat:
Rosy Boa habitat in San Diego Co. CA
Img N.3 Rosy Boa habitat in San Diego Co. CA
The Anza-Borrego vicinity of southern California is a prime example of rosy boa habitat.

From montane area of the San Gabriel and San Bernadino mountains to below sea level in the low deserts of the Salton Sea region of southern California, rosy boas are found in a great variety of habitats. Rosy boas flourish in coastal desert canyons, rocky shrubland, desert slopes and creek-beds, and boulder strewn hillsides. Most often associated with areas with intermitant or permanant water sources, i.e. desert springs, seasonal streams and/or ponds, and other bodies of water. They can be found at elevations just under sea level to nearly 7000ft. Activity more or less coincides with the temperature of the season. They can be found year-round though are encountered less often outside of their spring and early-summer feeding and breeding season. On mild winter days they occasionally prowl around the warmer rocks and decend to areas of water. Lifting rocks on sunny hillsides in winter will occasionally reveal a resting boa. Spring and summer months however provide an excellent opportunity to find boas as they journey out from their rocky retreats and are found in the early evening late into the night searching for prey and mates.

   

Range:
Range:

The northernmost known populations of the rosy boa are in the Argus Range and adjacent Darwin Hills near Death Valley. Due to the remoteness of the location it is not know how much farther north they may exist. From this area following the high-desert mountain ranges south through the mojave desert and in the coastal region of southern California through the peninsula of Baja California and on the mainland, Sonora, Mexico, north through western Arizona to the rocky hillsides north of Kingman, Arizona, these robust desert dwellers thrive on nearly every rock-strewn slope or pile of boulders within this broad area. They are also know from the Gulf islands of Tiburon, Mejia, Angel de la Guarda, San Marcos and Cerralvo. They also occur on the Pacific islands of Cedros and possibly Natividad.

   

Comments:
Comments:

When molested rosy boas will hide their head in their coils using their tail to fend off attacks from predators. They also may exude a foul smelling liquid to deter their attacker. Rosy boas taken from the wild often carry parasites and scars of the harsh life of the ruthless deserts and it is not recomended to take these animals from the wild. Captive bred boas are often more brightly colored and thrive in captivity, resulting in one of the few perfect pets to be had at a very reasonable price. Well kept rosy boas may live in excess of 25 years.



   





main | natural history | taxonomy | captive care | propagation | projects
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