Saturday, May 9, 2015

San Diego Gopher Snake

Monday I was repairing an irrigation line on the hillside. As I was making my way down the steep slope my path was blocked by this large brown-patterned snake.

San Diego Gopher Snake
San Diego Gopher Snake
I have no fear of snakes. But it gave me a bit of a start anyway--shaking me from whatever my thoughts were at the moment (probably, "Don't slip and tumble down the hill").

"Ooh, cool. A snake!" Brown and black with no red or yellow--not a Garter Snake. Not rings of black and white, so not a California King Snake. Okay, skinny tail and blunt head. No worries. This is not a Rattle Snake. This must be the common and widespread Gopher Snake (various subspecies also known as Pine Snake and Bull Snake). It is, in fact, the San Diego Gopher Snake.

The San Diego Gopher Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus annectens) is 31-51 inches long as an adult, the female longer. I estimate that the snake I saw was about 48 inches, so likely a female.

It wasn't moving as fast as I like, so I reached out and picked up the tail a bit to see if it would scoot off my path. Nope; it coiled up in a defensive fashion.

San Diego Gopher Snake

I found another way down the hill.