Do Gopher Snakes kill Rattlesnakes?
The question of whether gopher snakes kill rattlesnakes is a contentious issue. In some cases, gopher snakes have been known to attack and consume rattlesnakes, but there is not enough evidence to definitively answer this question.
Gopher snakes (Pituophis catenifer) are large, non-venomous snakes that inhabit the western United States and Mexico. They are often mistaken for rattlesnakes due to the large, dark blotch pattern on their body.
Rattlesnakes (Crotalus species) are venomous pit vipers that inhabit the southwestern United States and Mexico. They can range in size from two feet to over six feet in length.
There is some evidence that gopher snakes may attack and consume rattlesnakes. In one study, a gopher snake was observed consuming a rattlesnake, although the researchers were unable to determine the species of the rattlesnake.
In addition, gopher snakes have been known to consume other snakes, such as garter snakes and non-venomous colubrids. This indicates that they may also be capable of consuming rattlesnakes.
It appears that gopher snakes may kill and consume rattlesnakes, although further research is needed to be sure.
In any case, it is important to remember that gopher snakes are non-venomous and, while they may look intimidating, they are generally harmless and should not be feared.
When encountering a gopher snake:
- Stay calm: Gopher snakes are more likely to flee than attack.
- Keep your distance: If you feel threatened by a gopher snake, keep a safe distance until it has moved on.
- Call for help: If you are unsure of the species of snake, never hesitate to call for help from a professional.