It’s Important to Know Your Snakes When You Hike in Snake River Canyon
Now that the weather is good and hot, many of us scurry into the canyon to enjoy the beautiful nature that God has given us. But, it's a good reminder to make sure you know your snakes before you head into their native place.
gopher snakes know that if they look like a rattlesnake, most people will not mess with them. But, they're not really dangerous to humans
There are different varieties of snakes in the Magic Valley, but the 2 key ones to be able to identify quickly are rattlesnakes and gopher snakes.
The one big snake you're likely to see at some point looks incredibly threatening, but is really just a cream puff. I'm talking about gopher snakes.
It's funny that gopher snakes know that if they look like a rattlesnake, most people will not mess with them. But, they're not really dangerous to humans.
On the other hand, we have plenty of genuine western rattlesnakes in the Magic Valley and you don't want to tangle with them.
There are some key ways to tell gopher snakes and rattlesnakes apart. As the Sciencing website mentions, rattlesnakes normally don't grow much larger than 5 feet in length. Gopher snakes can reach up to 9 feet.
Rattlesnakes have pits between their eyes. Gopher snakes do not. The key is the shape of the head. If the snake has a triangle-shaped head, you're dealing with a venomous snake. Live Science points out that gopher snakes have round eyes, while rattlesnakes have cat-like pupils.
You don't want to kill a gopher snake if you come across one. They tend to keep rattlesnakes away since they're both territorial, as SF Gate mentions.
You also can't count on using the rattle as a positive identifier for rattlesnakes since some may have lost them in another encounter or they may be young.
Snakes are a reality of our area. Being educated about them can help us and them co-exist in the canyon named after them.