Pituophis catenifer annectens
Gopher snakes are constrictors: they kill prey by coiling around them and squeezing. But if attacked, a gopher snake may decide that the safest defense is to play rattlesnake. It does a fairly good impression, flattening its head into a triangle, hissing, and buzzing its tail. A Gopher snake’s head is actually narrower and more oval than a rattler’s, its scales are glossy rather than dull, and it has a pointy tail with no rattles.
This non-venomous constrictor fools predators by pretending to be a rattlesnake.
What’s for Lunch:
Small mammals, especially pocket gophers; birds and their eggs; occasionally lizards and insects
Coastal sage scrub, grassy areas, and riparian scrub