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  1. #1
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    Snake experts?

    I *thought* this was a California King snake, but after some research don't think it is. Anyone know what kind of snake this is?




    (Hiked Mt.Diablo yesterday, found this guy on Alamo Trail to Briones Mt.Diablo trail)
    Last edited by LJ0913; 04-30-2006 at 08:41 AM. Reason: spelling
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  2. #2
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    No expert...

    Maybe a Western Bull snake or sometimes referred to as gopher snakes. It looks like some of the pictures online. I could be wrong though.
    Don

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    Quote Originally Posted by LJ0913
    I *thought* this was a California King snake, but after some research don't think it is. Anyone know what kind of snake this is?




    (Hiked Mt.Diablo yesterday, found this guy on Alamo Trail to Briones Mt.Diablo trail)

    Looks kinda like this guy

    The colors of garter snakes vary greatly. They can be albino or pitch black or many patterns in between. More info here.
    There are no stupid questions but there are A LOT of inquisitive idiots.


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    That's a gopher snake (or bull snake)... I'm pretty sure. They get BIG in these parts. I saw a three footer on the bike path near Golden Gate feilds last week.

    If you corner one, it will flatten it's head to look like a Rattler. If you're going to experiment with thism make sure it doesn't have rattles

    I have seen California Kings in Solano County (Putah Creek) they're black and white and absolutely beautiful (for a snake).

    I have seen a black red and white snake that I thought was a king, but I was told it was definately not a CA King and I musta been high 'cus those snakes don't live around here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by velocipus
    That's a gopher snake (or bull snake)... I'm pretty sure. They get BIG in these parts. I saw a three footer on the bike path near Golden Gate feilds last week.

    If you corner one, it will flatten it's head to look like a Rattler. If you're going to experiment with thism make sure it doesn't have rattles

    I have seen California Kings in Solano County (Putah Creek) they're black and white and absolutely beautiful (for a snake).

    I have seen a black red and white snake that I thought was a king, but I was told it was definately not a CA King and I musta been high 'cus those snakes don't live around here.


    Looks like velicopus is right! https://www.oaklandzoo.org/atoz/azgosnke.html

    Good call
    There are no stupid questions but there are A LOT of inquisitive idiots.


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    Sweet! Thanks for the info, wifey and I were wondering what it was. I thought it was a baby Ca King as they get HUGE!
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    Quote Originally Posted by LJ0913
    Sweet! Thanks for the info, wifey and I were wondering what it was. I thought it was a baby Ca King as they get HUGE!
    Yeah, they do! Last summer, a neighbor and I were JRA at Hidden Lakes in Martinez when a 4 footer was sunning himself across the trail. My neighbor stopped short and I almost crashed into him!
    There are no stupid questions but there are A LOT of inquisitive idiots.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan'ger
    Yeah, they do! Last summer, a neighbor and I were JRA at Hidden Lakes in Martinez when a 4 footer was sunning himself across the trail. My neighbor stopped short and I almost crashed into him!
    When I was about 8yo are two dogs were barking up a storm. We let them in the house they sat at the back door barking, and barking, and barking. My let them out and followed them. We had a 15 foot CA King snake in our backyard. It took three animal patrol workers to lift the dam thing... Being 8yo I of course thought it was the coolest thing EVER!
    You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LJ0913
    When I was about 8yo are two dogs were barking up a storm. We let them in the house they sat at the back door barking, and barking, and barking. My let them out and followed them. We had a 15 foot CA King snake in our backyard. It took three animal patrol workers to lift the dam thing... Being 8yo I of course thought it was the coolest thing EVER!
    15 feet!!!

    Being somewhat curious about snakes.. that is something I'd like to see. That must have been impressive.

    I was the official rattle snake catcher at a resort I worked at a bunch of years ago. The biggest one I've seen we guessed to be 6 feet. we didn't keep it around long enough to measure it.

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    Gopher snake:)

    Cool Pic! Last year Riding up at Grouse Ridge I saw my first Timber Rattle snake. It was about 4 feet long with black and white marking--not like your typical brown markings of most rattle snakes. It is snake season!

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    Quote Originally Posted by velocipus
    15 feet!!!

    Being somewhat curious about snakes.. that is something I'd like to see. That must have been impressive.
    More so, given that California King snakes rarely get over 4 feet long (some of the other king snake sub-species can get as long as 6-7 feet. Here is what the Oakland Zoo says - https://www.oaklandzoo.org/atoz/azkgsnke.html.

    Interesting side note - Cal Kings in northern CA have horizontal bands (rings), where those in southern CA have stripes that run the length of the body. I used to keep a variety of these guys as pets.

    The original snake posted at the start of the thread is definitely a gopher snake.

    The guy who said to make sure it doesn't have rattles to determine if it is a northern pacific rattlesnake (the one rattle snake we have in the Bay Area) was close. Definitely spot on that gopher snakes mimic rattle snakes as part of their defense, so worth ientifying correctly if you want to get close. But rattlers can sometimes break off their rattles. If you don't see rattles, you may also want to check to see if the neck is the same width as the head. Rattlesnakes have much wider heads than necks (to make space for the venom glands - gopher snakes don't have venom glands, so don't have as wide a head). The picture at https://www.montereybay.com/creagrus/CArattlers.html shows the wide head pretty well (though I am not sure if that is a Northern Pacific or one of the other subspecies in CA). Compare that to the head/neck interface of the one I got a picture of in the Headlands last week.

    And the mention of seeing a timber rattler... Well, they are native to the north east (like PA and NY), so likely not what you saw.

    We had an interesting snake sighting today. On today's trail work at Waterdog (Belmont), we came across a ringneck snake (looks similar to this one - https://www.californiaherps.com/snak...dentalishu.jpg). I think that was the first time I saw one in the wild.

    Sorry to get all herped out on you ('herp' comes from herpetology, which is the term for the study of reptiles and amphibians). Used to be a hobby of mine.
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    Last edited by singlespeed.org; 04-30-2006 at 07:43 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlespeed.org
    More so, given that California King snakes rarely get over 4 feet long (some of the other king snake sub-species can get as long as 6-7 feet. Here is what the Oakland Zoo says - https://www.oaklandzoo.org/atoz/azkgsnke.html.

    Interesting side note - Cal Kings in northern CA have horizontal bands (rings), where those in southern CA have stripes that run the length of the body. I used to keep a variety of these guys as pets.

    The original snake posted at the start of the thread is definitely a gopher snake.

    The guy who said to make sure it doesn't have rattles to determine if it is a northern pacific rattlesnake (the one rattle snake we have in the Bay Area) was close. Definitely spot on that gopher snakes mimic rattle snakes as part of their defense, so worth ientifying correctly if you want to get close. But rattlers can sometimes break off their rattles. If you don't see rattles, you may also want to check to see if the neck is the same width as the head. Rattlesnakes have much wider heads than necks (to make space for the venom glands - gopher snakes don't have venom glands, so don't have as wide a head). The picture at https://www.montereybay.com/creagrus/CArattlers.html shows the wide head pretty well (though I am not sure if that is a Northern Pacific or one of the other subspecies in CA). Compare that to the head/neck interface of the one I got a picture of in the Headlands last week.

    And the mention of seeing a timber rattler... Well, they are native to the north east (like PA and NY), so likely not what you saw.

    We had an interesting snake sighting today. On today's trail work at Waterdog (Belmont), we came across a ringneck snake (looks similar to this one - https://www.californiaherps.com/snak...dentalishu.jpg). I think that was the first time I saw one in the wild.

    Sorry to get all herped out on you ('herp' comes from herpetology, which is the term for the study of reptiles and amphibians). Used to be a hobby of mine.
    you and I have got to go snake watching sometime.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by velocipus
    you and I have got to go snake watching sometime.
    Seems when I go looking for them, I can't find squat. But if I just go ride or hike or something, I sometimes see some good stuff.
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  14. #14
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    Noisy friend met on the trail today

    Here is a quick snap of a "friend" we met on the trail today. I am not an expert but it appears to be a Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (sorry, not a king or garter snake). After finishing his tanning session, he entertained us with a minute of rattling before moving off into the grass in search of lunch.
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    Saw this one in Annadel last thursday evening

    It was crossing lake trail on the north side of the lake. Picture was taken with my cell phone.
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    Tis the season

    Saw two rattle snakes in two days last week. I'm sure they will be pletiful with the way the season has developed.

  17. #17
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    Yup, Gopher/Bull Snake.

    We had two as pets growing up....must have had them for every bit of a dozen years. We were even able to breed them for several seasons. (let the babies go back into the wild)

    Pretty docile snake I thought.


    California King Snakes are black/white/black/white. Terribly beautiful snake I think.


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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by LJ0913
    I *thought* this was a California King snake, but after some research don't think it is. Anyone know what kind of snake this is?

    (Hiked Mt.Diablo yesterday, found this guy on Alamo Trail to Briones Mt.Diablo trail)
    That is clearly a rare Speckled Gray Three Stepper. You are very lucky to have survived the encounter. The only other known photo of this snake was found in a camera next to the photographers body. Apparently this snake is related to the Black Mamba of Africa. Only the Speckled Three Stepper has its neurotoxin not in it's fangs, but in a hidden needle in the tip of its tail which it flicks sort of like a Porcupine. This snake actually throws the poisoned needle around ten feet and aims for your eyes. Few have survived these encounters. You are very very lucky. By the way, it is called a "Three Stepper" because that is what you have after being hit by one of the poisoned needles. After three steps you drop dead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jo_ride
    It was crossing lake trail on the north side of the lake. Picture was taken with my cell phone.
    I almost ran over a rattler the other day on my way up to the lake. I was going super slow because my girlfriend was walking with me and didn't notice the snake, as it was sunbathing on the edge of the trail, until it was right under me and started to move. At first not knowing it was a rattle snake yet, I stopped my bike, turned and was going to try to catch it, but saw the rattler as my girlriend yelled and ran around it. Luckily I didn't run it over and the snake decided to slither away scared rather than coil up and strike.

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