Substantial Gopher Snake

Gopher snake in the roadI’ve been walking barefoot to the mailbox every day, a ‘summer feet’ development effort. Today, I encountered a big ol’ Pacific Gopher Snake, Pituophis catenifer.  I initially thought it was a small rattlesnake, but upon closer inspection, it didn’t have the arrowhead…er…head that rattlesnakes have, and it wasn’t heavy-bodied enough.  There isn’t anything in the photo to demonstrate scale, but the snake was about two or two and a half feet long when it finally stretched out, and was probably the fattest one I’ve ever seen – perhaps it was gravid?  I briefly entertained the notion of relocating the snake to my garden – meadow voles, take note – but instead encouraged it to move from the road.

There are sometimes gopher snakes in the garden, as well as sharp-tailed snakes, ring-necked snakes, and king snakes.  I’ve never seen a rattlesnake on my property, or in the immediate vicinity, but I have seen plenty of them up the road and down the road, at higher and lower elevations.


Gopher snake in the road


CaliforniaHerps is a good resource for quick I.D. of common California snakes.

I wish I had a better picture, but only had a phone with me (and not a smart phone).

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One Response to Substantial Gopher Snake

  1. Pingback: A Not Insignificant Serpent | food|forest|garden

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