Monday, June 9, 2008
Photo: Todd H., 2008
A few weeks ago, neighbors witnessed a red tail hawk land on a telephone pole and drop snake to the street below. Evidently, the snake got a good bite out of the hawk since it still has a mouthful of feathers in the photo above. One of the neighbors snapped this photo with his cell phone. If you look closely, there are feathers in the snake's mouth. Another neighbor and her son, who recognized it immediately as a gopher snake, rescued the snake and later released it in their yard, hoping it will take care of their gopher problem.
Gopher snakes are not poisonous and are common to California. In the neighborhood, I've seen them large as 6 feet . A gopher snake will imitate a rattlesnake by coiling up, hissing and shaking it's tail at you, often rattling dry grass with its tail to further its charade. If you encounter a snake giving you such threat behavior, you should not approach it. You may not hear the rattle on a rattlesnake, as the rattle is not very loud. There are occasional rattlesnake sightings at the south end of the Red Car Property near the slope going down to the 2 Freeway.
www.CaliforniaHerps.com has a good photo index and everything you ever wanted to know about native snakes and other reptiles.