Paul Ruthling (1897-1972): Rare LeConte's Snake in Los Angeles

by
Robert Jan van de Hoek, President
Ballona Institute
Los Angeles, California 90293
roy@naturespeace.org
İMarch 8, 2013

FOREWORD
by
Robert "Roy" van de Hoek
Los Angeles, California
2013
Paul Ruthling (1897-1972) was a very special natural historian of Los Angeles County. He was a young man, only 18 years old, when he authored his first natural history article in 1915 about a rare Los Angeles snake in the scientific publication called COPEIA. The name of the snake in 1915 was LeConte Snake but today is called the Long-nosed Snake.
RHINOCHILUS LECONTEI IN LOS ANGELES
by
PAUL D. R. RUTHLING
Los Angeles, California
August 24, 1915
In the COPEIA of February 20, 1915 (No. 15) appeared a list of fourteen snakes found in the vicinity of the city of Los Angeles. To those must now be added one more recently discovered at Belvidere, California, by Mr. Viggo Tarp. This is Rhinochilus lecontei (Baird & Girard) and was found on May 13, 1915, about two miles from the beach on a bare hill near some gopher holes. This specimen is now thriving in captivity on a diet of lizards. It is 38 1/2 inches long.

The only other traces I have found of LeConte's Snake have been in La Canada Valley, where an old bee-man named Charlie Metcalf had skins of two other specimens found in the valley where he lives. Near Los Angeles, Le Conte's Snake is considered rare.


AFTERWORD
by
Robert "Roy" van de Hoek
Los Angeles, California
2013
In 1913, 100 years ago this year, Paul Ruthling became a charter member of the Lorquin Natural History Club. He announced himself at the first meeting as someone interested in snakes. And two years later, he published his first article in COPEIA in 1915. The hope is that Los Angeles residents will welcome the recovery of this rare snake in the uplands by the baseball fields of the Ballona Wetlands State Ecological Reserve. This geographic area already has all the required habitat and prey needed for the survival of the LeConte Snake including the Pocket Gopher and Western Fence Lizard. Several kinds of snakes already occur here including the Kingsnake, Gopher Snake, and Ring-necked Snake. 1