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Archive for the 'Rattlesnake' Category

Gopher snake hidden in the grass

Gopher snake’s head, hidden in the grass. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
1snake id brian murphy wc

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

Posted on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
Under: Gopher snake, Rattlesnake | 1 Comment »

Rattlesnakes: When hiking, always watch your step

Western rattlesnake in defensive position. Photo by Don Smith, Fairfield, CA.
1rattler don smith

I always enjoy reading your column in the CC times.
I thought I would share with you my rattlesnake experience and offer some advise based on that experience.  This photo was taken soon after this fellow tried to defend himself against a perceived threat by striking without (or very little) warning.
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Posted on Monday, October 3rd, 2011
Under: Rattlesnake | 4 Comments »

Rattlesnake & bicyclist: Sharing a drink on top of Mount Diablo

Rattlesnake at base of drinking fountain at top of Mount Diablo. Photo by Steven James, Walnut Creek, CA
1diablo rattlesnake steven james wc

At the summit of Mount Diablo there’s a drinking fountain in the parking lot. When I ride my bike up there, I go immediately to the fountain to fill up my water bottle, putting my foot on the concrete base of the fountain as I operate the fountain. Today, as I was doing this and chatting with another cyclist, he backed up saying “Oh oh oh” and pointing to my foot, where 4-5 inches away was a coiled rattler sitting on top of the fountain base.

I backed away. Then I let the fountain run, producing a puddle. The snake slowly inclined to take a drink.  I think he was thirsty. The ranger up there said he is a regular who lives nearby.  Here’s a picture.
Steve James, Walnut Creek, California

These days you always need to watch your step, even when you’re just getting a drink of water. /Gary

Posted on Friday, September 23rd, 2011
Under: Mount Diablo, Rattlesnake | No Comments »

Rattlesnakes & gopher snakes: How to tell the difference

Western rattlesnake. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
1rattler2 dave harper oakley

People can have a lot of trouble telling gopher snakes (harmless) and rattlesnakes (poisonous) apart. From time to time, I will come across photos that are good at helping you decide which is which. Check out these photos.

Pacific gopher snake. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
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I find these photos by Dave Harper of Oakley, California, to be very helpful in that regard. /Gary

Western rattlesnake. Note rattle. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
1rattler dave harper oakley

Posted on Friday, August 26th, 2011
Under: Gopher snake, Rattlesnake | 3 Comments »

Camouflage: Which is the rattlesnake? Which is the gopher snake?

Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
rattlesnake by brian murphy

Which photo is the poisonous Western rattlesnake and which photo is the non-poisonous Pacific gopher snake?

When it comes to camouflage, no one can top Mother Nature.

Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA.
gophersnake, brian

Click on “read the rest of this entry” to find the answer.
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Posted on Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
Under: Gopher snake, Rattlesnake, Snakes | 1 Comment »

Check this photo & watch out for rattlesnakes while hiking!

Camouflaged rattlesnake by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
rattlesnake by brian murphy

Wandering around to look at things off trail, it is very important to pay attention where you walk.

The lighting in the above photo on a cool overcast morning in the open space is perfect, not a lot of visual clues except some out of place dark object in the weeds.   The photo doesn’t reflect the process of trying to figure out what it was, then what kind it was as the light bands were deceptive until I noticed the rattles.

So lets enjoy the great outdoors and pay attention!
Brian, Walnut Creek, CA

As you say: Look at the photo carefully and watch out for rattlesnakes! /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
Under: Rattlesnake | 1 Comment »

Rattlesnakes & gopher snakes: How to tell them apart

Poisonous Western rattlesnake (Brian Murphy/Walnut Creek, CA)
western rattlesnake

Spring has sprung and many cold blooded reptiles are now crawling out and about. In case you can’t tell the difference between rattlesnakes and gopher snakes, you and any other family members, especially children, should check out and compare these photographs of the two reptiles. /Gary

Harmless Pacific gopher snake (Brian Murphy/Walnut Creek, CA)
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Posted on Thursday, May 13th, 2010
Under: Gopher snake, Rattlesnake, Snakes | 2 Comments »

Brutal rattlesnake roundups have got to stop

Rattlesnake orgy? Photo by Flickr user Finious Fingers used under a Creative Commons License.
rattler orgy finious fingers

The Feb. 4 issue of the weekly e-newsletter of the Center for Biological Diversity has a piece on something that has been bothering me since I was a kid: Rattlesnake Roundups.

I like snakes and used to collect them in my childhood days, before I realized they should be left free in the wild. I was horrified to learn about these Rattlesnake Roundups, where the beautiful reptiles were collected in huge numbers, and killed so their meat and skins could be sold. Disgusting.

Fortunately, the Center for Biological Diversity is trying to put an end to it. You can see what they have to say about it below. /Gary
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Posted on Friday, February 5th, 2010
Under: Rattlesnake | 4 Comments »

Rattlesnake roundups leading to diamondback rattler demise

Thought I’d pass along this enlightening little tidbit from the Weekly E-Newsletter from the Center for Biological Diversity:

According to a sobering recent study, rattlesnake-killing contests have dangerously reduced populations of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes in the Southeast.
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Posted on Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
Under: Rattlesnake | 1 Comment »

Do you recognize these snakes? You should!


The following snakes are four common local species that are regularly encountered in the San Francisco Bay Area. One is poisonous and the other three are harmless. (In case you haven’t already figured it out, the snake pictured above is a rattlesnake.)

Check these snakes out so you know which is which if you happen to encounter one in your backyard.
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Posted on Thursday, August 14th, 2008
Under: Gopher snake, King snake, Rattlesnake, Snakes | 3 Comments »