A specimen of the Sharp-tailed Snake (Contia tenuis) was identified in Lake Country on Sunday, May 27th 2018. At 10:15 pm, it was seen in an open pathway area with artificial lighting.
Between 8 and 10 inches in length, the distinct head and sharply pointed tail distinguished it at once from the Rubber Boa (Charina bottae) found in the area. The predominant colour was a caramel-brown, with a lighter ventral surface. When touched, the snake moved rapidly and repeatedly flexed the tip of the tail. After having made certain of its identity, no attempt was made to capture it, and it was protected from a dog’s attention while it quickly entered a heavily planted area of the garden. Some scent was likely released after the snake was disturbed as the next morning the dog followed the precise track that the snake had taken away from the open path. Having no camera on hand when the snake was observed, no photograph was taken; it was important to keep dog and snake apart and to minimize the snake’s disturbance.
As far as is known at present, this snake species has been recorded in the Gulf Islands, with one apparently questionable record from the Chase area. This then would be a first sighting in the Okanagan and perhaps the first on the mainland of British Columbia.
For more information on the Sharp-tailed Snake, see:
By Dan Bruce, Curator of the Lake Country Museum & Archives