Friday, May 29, 2015

Red Car Canyon Adjacent: Gopher Snake Pretending To Be A Rattlesnake

Photo: Jonathan Vandiveer, May 28, 2015.  A rather large snake was lurking in the bushes outside Vandiveer's home office yesterday.  His cat kept trying to play with it.  After Vandiveer pushed the cat in the house, he was able to shoot some photos.  

As Gopher Snakes will do,  this one was shaking its tail and rattling the bushes trying  to scare off Vandiveer, a potential predator.  Unfortunately, Vandiveer was unable to capture the masquerade on video.  However, if you look closely at the photo, both the head and the tail are in the lower third of the shot, definitely a Gopher Snake.

I've noticed gopher snakes actually make more noise than rattlesnakes in Los Angeles.  The urban environment is just too loud in places like the Hollywood Hills to hear actual rattle on a rattlesnake.  The technique must work for the Gopher Snakes.  Vandiveer only learned its true length when it slithered away, easily a 6-foot snake.  It has been eating well in the neighborhood.

Gopher Snakes eat gophers, rats and mice.  A rattlesnake has not been documented in the Red Car Property neighborhood.  They do live in Griffith Park.  You should not attempt to touch or handle any wildlife. 

May is traditionally a big time for Gopher Snake sightings in the neighborhood. Click here for all our snake related posts.

Learn more about gopher snakes: CalHerps