Rattlesnakes and gopher snakes are both large snakes that display some similar behaviours. However, once you take a closer look, the differences in appearance are clear.
Important: A frightened gopher snake will flatten its head, hiss loudly, and shake its tail rapidly, doing a convincing rattlesnake imitation. The act is enhanced when the gopher snake shakes its tail while amongst leaves, dried grasses or other debris. This charade may be useful when facing most natural predators, but all too often is deadly when facing a scared human. Remember, gopher snakes are not venomous.
Click here to see a video clip of a gopher snake displaying these protective mannerisms. (7.6 MB video) Again, notice that this snake does not have a rattle – instead, it makes noise with its mouth. In fact, gopher snakes are the only snakes in British Columbia that actually hiss!
In comparison to rattlesnakes, gopher snakes have...
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