The other day on a warm afternoon my wife came across about a foot long snake on our concrete patio. She is very curious as to what type of snake it is, how big it will get and if it is dangerous (see attached photos). Thanks for your help as I am snake dumb. Appreciate your time and informative column.
John Lavezzoli, Walnut Creek, CA
The snake is a beautiful and harmless gopher snake. It might gain another foot or two in length over the years, but that’s about the average size we see around here. Great to have in the yard as they eat insects and small rodents. Definitely not dangerous. When frightened, they will coil up, buzz their tails to make them look a little like a rattlesnake so you’ll go away and leave them alone. (Note the pointy tail; no rattles.) They will also flatten their heads and hiss and strike (harmlessly) at you. Rattlesnake do not hiss loudly like that. /Gary