Gopher snakes and rattlesnakes are both members of the family Viperidae which contains some of the deadliest snakes in the world. Both gopher snakes and rattlesnakes can be found in the United States but there are some key differences between the two species.
Rattlesnakes are generally larger than gopher snakes with an average length of 3-4 feet (1-1.2 m). Gopher snakes on the other hand typically grow to be 5-6 feet (1.5-1.8 m) long. Another way to tell these two snakes apart is by looking at their tails. Rattlesnakes have a rattle at the end of their tail that they shake when they feel threatened. Gopher snakes do not have a rattle but their tails are often darker than the rest of their body.
When it comes to color gopher snakes are usually brown or tan with dark brown or black stripes down their back. Rattlesnakes can also be brown or tan but they often have a more distinct pattern of diamonds circles or bands across their body.
If you’re still not sure whether you’re looking at a gopher snake or a rattlesnake the best thing to do is to leave the snake alone and observe from a safe distance. Gopher snakes are non-venomous so they pose no threat to humans. Rattlesnakes on the other hand are incredibly dangerous and their venom can be fatal if not treated immediately.
What are some physical differences between gopher snakes and rattlesnakes?
Gopher snakes are typically larger and have a more prominent head than rattlesnakes.
They also have round pupils while rattlesnakes have elliptical pupils.
Where do gopher snakes and rattlesnakes typically live?
Gopher snakes are found in North and Central America while rattlesnakes are found in the Americas Australia and Africa.
What do gopher snakes and rattlesnakes eat?
Gopher snakes mostly eat rodents while rattlesnakes eat a variety of animals including rodents birds and lizards.
Are gopher snakes and rattlesnakes venomous?
Rattlesnakes are venomous while gopher snakes are not.
What is the average lifespan of a gopher snake and a rattlesnake?
Gopher snakes typically live 10-20 years while rattlesnakes can live 20-30 years.
How do gopher snakes and rattlesnakes reproduce?
Gopher snakes lay eggs while rattlesnakes give birth to live young.
What is the average length of a gopher snake and a rattlesnake?
Gopher snakes typically grow to be 3-5 feet long while rattlesnakes can grow to be 6-8 feet long.
What is the average weight of a gopher snake and a rattlesnake?
Gopher snakes typically weigh 1-2 pounds while rattlesnakes can weigh up to 10 pounds.
What kind of habitat do gopher snakes and rattlesnakes prefer?
Gopher snakes prefer open areas with plenty of hiding places while rattlesnakes prefer rocky areas.
How do gopher snakes and rattlesnakes defend themselves?
Gopher snakes will sometimes rattle their tails to imitate a rattlesnake while rattlesnakes will shake their tails to warn predators.
What is the average litter size for gopher snakes and rattlesnakes?
Gopher snakes usually have 4-10 young while rattlesnakes usually have 2-12 young.
How often do gopher snakes and rattlesnakes eat?
Gopher snakes typically eat once a week while rattlesnakes may eat only once every two weeks.
What do baby gopher snakes and baby rattlesnakes look like?
Baby gopher snakes look like miniature versions of adults while baby rattlesnakes have a button-like rattle at the end of their tails.
How do gopher snakes and rattlesnakes kill their prey?
Gopher snakes kill their prey by constriction while rattlesnakes kill their prey with their venom.
How can you tell if a snake is a gopher snake or a rattlesnake?
If you see a snake with a rattle at the end of its tail it is a rattlesnake.
If you see a snake with round pupils and a large head it is a gopher snake.