Baby Rattlesnake or Baby Gopher Snake?

July 10, 2014 11:19 am · 57 comments


A Claycordian recently found this snake on her porch, and wanted to know what you think….is it a baby rattler or a baby gopher snake?

I know some baby rattlers don’t have the rattle yet. This one is pretty tiny (but long). Strong little bugger. It unscrewed the lid of the bottle and almost escaped! What is the easiest way to tell a baby rattler from a gopher?

Any snake experts out there care to fill us in on baby snakes? Thanks!

David July 10, 2014 at 11:24 AM

An easy way to tell is by looking at the eyes. Round eye pupils are safe, cat like eyes, it’s probably poisonous. Hard to tell from this picture.

Cherrywood July 10, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Its a Gopher Snake. Rattle snakes have a wider head.

Cat July 10, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Rattlesnake would have slit eyes and a pointed head.
Gopher snake would have round eyes and a stubby head.

FormerWoodsideParent July 10, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Looks like a Gopher snake. Longer, narrower head (rattlesnakes have a more triangular-shaped head) and the scale pattern is more like that of a gopher snake. (My opinion of course.)

The Mamba July 10, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Looks like a gopher because of the shape of the head, rattlers have a triangle shaped noggin. July 10, 2014 at 11:33 AM

You all are great, thanks for the info!

My Two Cents July 10, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Looks like a Gopher snake. Need better pictures for sure. Rattle snakes have a triangular head and non poisonous snakes have a slender head. Gopher snakes are shiny and rattlers are dull looking.

Road King Terry July 10, 2014 at 11:44 AM


Futurama July 10, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Gopher snake, they have a constrictors head, rattle snakes have that of a viper, flatter with horns above the eyes.

kyburz66 July 10, 2014 at 11:48 AM

narrow head, you ain’t dead!

Wildlife Biologist July 10, 2014 at 11:49 AM

You are all wrong. This is clearly a corn snake. Please don’t let these, “I play a herpetologist on TV” posters lead you astray.

Final verdict: 100% Corn Snake

Constant Reader July 10, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Ditto, gopher snake. One thing to know is that when cornered, they sometimes try to mimic a rattlesnake. They shake their tail (but without a rattle) and if it is in leaves, it can sound like a rattlesnake. They can also act aggressively as if you should be afraid of them.

Gopher snakes are good to have around – they eat the little critters around your house (mice, gophers, moles, etc).

Gargoyle Socks July 10, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Who cares? Either way, it’s a snake! That’s enough for me.

Why does it always have to be snakes?

Zoey July 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Now take it someplace snake safe and let him go…..Away from people and dogs…..

Jen July 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Is she going to just let it rot in the bottle? Its useful for rodents, would be nice to see it released in the open space.

Wildlife Biologist July 10, 2014 at 12:18 PM

That, my friends, is clearly a…

Nah, too easy.

Catch and Release July 10, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Please let the Gopher snake out. It wants to eat the mice.

ME July 10, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Gopher snake.

judaspriest July 10, 2014 at 1:03 PM

dummy thats a corn snakle

Reality Check July 10, 2014 at 1:11 PM

!00% Gopher snake, please release it.

Claytonian July 10, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Gopher – the head is the same width where it meets the body. If it’s wider than the body then it’s a rattler, The wider head is due to the venom glands.

States Street Resident July 10, 2014 at 1:17 PM

As a *real* wildlife biologist/herpetologist, I can confirm it is a gopher snake. It’s comforting to see that so many Claycordians correctly identified this snake!

Remember, even if you don’t like snakes, at least recognize the service they’re providing by eliminating rodents that are attracted to your backyards by tall grasses (seeds) and outdoor feeding stations (dog/cat kibble).

Jeez July 10, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Corn snake on its way to an Olive Garden … Too easy …

Atticus Thraxx July 10, 2014 at 1:25 PM

We all agree it’s a lawyer, but what kind of lawyer?

Marianne July 10, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Atticus, that is an accident an injury lawyer, you know, the ambulance chasers.

Marianne July 10, 2014 at 1:41 PM

lol, I crack myself up sometimes. 🙂

Silva July 10, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Please let it out!

Silva July 10, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Poor thing.

You can also tell by the tail July 10, 2014 at 1:56 PM

If you can see the end of the tail, and it is pointed, it is a safe snake.

Gopher snakes have pointed tails.

Claycord Cornsnake July 10, 2014 at 2:02 PM

It’sssss my cousssssin Herbie!!!!

How you doing Herbmeisssster? I’m coming right over to let you out, then we’ll hunt together…..

wesley mouch July 10, 2014 at 2:10 PM

If it tastes like chicken, it’s probably a rattlesnake; like turkey, a gopher snake!!!

Cat Wrangler July 10, 2014 at 2:17 PM

It is the new Calvin Klein fragrance for men, “Snakebite.” Featured above in a bottle it is also available in collectible snake head atomizer spray.

Plisskin July 10, 2014 at 2:42 PM

States Street Resident – as a wildlife biologist/herpetologist does it bother you that so many people think that this is a “poisonous” snake?

Snakes are venomous. There is only one snake in the world that is poisonous and it ain’t a rattler.

naturalist July 10, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Gopher snake for sure. Notice its glossy skin… rattlesnakes have a dull luster.

Smart,Goodlooking&Debonaire July 10, 2014 at 3:15 PM

I would like to see this snake released, preferably into my neighbors backyard. thanks.

Wildcat July 10, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Rattlesnakes also have a “coon tail”. Black/White band before the rattles.

Hospital worker July 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Please be careful if you insist on catching snakes, especially if you don’t know that it is not poisonous. Baby rattlers can give a nasty bite and will inject all their venom.

The Kaibiter July 10, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Your all wrong, it’s a Jar snake. They have this protective clear shell that forms around them, see.

sam July 10, 2014 at 4:38 PM

please contact the Lindsay Wildlife Animal Refuge Center and Hospital… for all wildlife issues…. (925) 935-1978. thank you for safeguarding all of our animal friends.

TJ Jones July 10, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Take it to Lime Ridge Open Space AND LET IT GO.

Dwight Schrute July 10, 2014 at 5:11 PM

stick your finger in the jar and find out

Token Black Guy July 10, 2014 at 6:27 PM

I’m not worried about poisonous snakes – because I won’t be eating any.

Venomous snakes, however are another matter. Plisskin and I are brothers in this regard.

Marissa July 10, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Beautiful snake but it belongs in nature. Let the damn thing out and let it go elsewhere but in a jar.

NoMoreFreeRide July 10, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Gopher Snake

Abbie R. July 10, 2014 at 7:44 PM

“Red to Black, Venom Lack…Red to Yellow, kills a fellow”…Oh wait that’s how to tell a colorful King Snake from a venomus Coral Snake.

mtz July 10, 2014 at 7:59 PM

i think nether. corn snake

jrconcord July 10, 2014 at 9:27 PM

That is the very rare.
wombat sizzle snake
Watchout it will hynotize you
and trick you into eating
a whole jar of peanut butter

paranoid pablito July 10, 2014 at 10:02 PM

I can say definitively that is a snake. Next question please..

Live and Let Live July 10, 2014 at 11:01 PM

Rattle snakes have a triangular shaped head, as many have already pointed out. But PLEASE be careful, and do not mess with any snakes if you do not know what they are.
Also – Don’t kill them if you don’t know what they are, or they are in an area where they are not a threat to your family/pets, etc… they are all here for a reason – if we didn’t have snakes we would be overrun by mice, gophers, and the like.
Baby rattlers are VERY dangerous… my mother (who lives near Yosemite) was bit by a baby rattler, and they DO release all of their venom, which makes them much more dangerous than their older relatives… She had to be airlifted to the hospital, and her whole arm swelled up to about 4x’s its normal size. The finger that the little sucker bit her on turned black, and we thought she was going to lose it. Luckily, after 3 days in the I.C.U., she was released, and other than some severe pain, she was able to come home with her hand and arm intact & relatively normal.
If you don’t know what it is, leave it alone!
Baby rattlers don’t always have all of their rattles, so they strike without warning, sometimes you do not even see them due to their excellent camouflage. They like this hot, dry weather, and tend to be out and about more, so please use caution when weeding, etc.
I have encountered a few on my hikes in Briones, and Mt. Diablo, but I just give them a wide berth, and so far (fingers crossed) have not been bit. When hiking, I try to make noise, and give them fair warning that I am coming, don’t step over anything that they may be hiding under (rocks, stumps, logs and the like) and I always carry my cellphone with me just to be safe.
The little guy in your picture is a gopher snake, but why did you capture him or even get close enough to capture him if you did not know the difference?
Let him go… he is not a threat to you or anyone else.

Dr. Jellyfinger® July 10, 2014 at 11:06 PM

Wasn’t there a label on the jar? If I buy a bottled snake I’m damn sure checking the label first.

Dr. Jellyfinger® July 10, 2014 at 11:15 PM

Oh…… found on porch. Was it a gift? Did they leave a card? You didn’t just walk out on the porch & find a snake in a bottle did you? Hmmmmm… If you live in that neighborhood where Seeno wants to build the project that all the neighbors are screaming about… well… this could be a warning from the Mafia!

Mike K July 11, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Worlds most dangerous snake….to gophers

Richard July 11, 2014 at 7:11 AM

I will be moving into the Claycord area next month…… I hope this is not a common occurence – I don’t care what kind of snake it is, I would have screamed like a little girl if I saw it in my yard!

Anonomous. July 11, 2014 at 8:14 AM

They are Serpent-Americans.

slagheap July 11, 2014 at 8:55 AM

100% unmistakably a ” gopher ” snake. please release in a suitable area so it will live, prosper, procreate.

Anastasia July 11, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Is it me or does it look like it has two heads?lol

barron July 11, 2014 at 3:37 PM

They got snakes out here this big I’m going back to L.A.

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