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More About Snakes…

Yes, as you read last week, we do have snakes here in Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms.  Here are a couple more common snakes we have in our area.  

The sidewinder is a venomous snake.  It measures between 18-30 inches long.  It has a gray, brown, or yellow body.  It likes the sandy terrain of the desert, and it kind of buries itself in the sand in a coil or hides at the base of creosote bushes or other bushes.  It eats lizards, rodents, and birds.   To move along, this snake throws its head in front of its body, uses it as an anchor, and pulls the rest of itself along in a side winding pattern. 

The gopher snake is found throughout the Mojave Desert.  It looks similar in it’s pattern to a rattlesnake and is often mistaken as a rattler and unfortunately killed.  This is a good snake though.  It is usually yellowish or cream colored and has brown or reddish blotches along its back.  It can reach up to 6 feet in length.  It lives in the rocks, in the desert washes and is a skilled climber.  It eats rodents, rabbits, birds, eggs, and lizards.  It kills its prey by constriction.  It is usually pretty gentle and normally easy to handle. 

Several years ago, when I was still in the California Highway Patrol, I was just about to put the cuffs on this guy, when I looked down and saw a snake slithering by about a foot away us.  I calmly told the guy to hold very still, as a snake was crawling by us.  I also mentioned last week, I do not like snakes very much, and was hoping it didn’t jump at us and strike one of us.  Luckily, the snake went by and left us alone.  Everyone always asks me, so, was it poisonous?  That I cannot tell you, as I was kind of busy watching the snake and trying to handcuff a guy to take forthwith.

Snakes are fascinating.  Be careful as you reach for things near bushes or in rocks, as this is the time they venture out.  I do not recommend seeking them out or touching or picking them up.  You just never know.

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