Found the snake in the above photo at Bayberry Pond (Lime Ridge Open Space, Walnut Creek), stretched out enjoying the morning sun. Always a hesitation to try and figure out what it was, the pointy tail eventually gave it a way. A nice well-fed, 4 foot gopher snake.
We thought about trying to catch it to see if we still had our 8 year old kid skills but decided to just leave it alone. The photo isn’t ‘good’ but it’s what things look like when you see them and it’s important to identify them before you make a bad decision.
Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, California
Important indeed! You definitely don’t want to grab a rattlesnake! Besides the pointy tail (instead of rattles), you should also note the round pupil in the snake’s eye. Gopher snakes have round pupils … and rattlesnakes have vertical pupils, like cats.
Of course, if you are close enough to get a good look at the snake’s eyes, that’s a whole other story … /Gary