If you’re a fan of thrilling wildlife encounters, then the comparison between rattlesnakes and gopher snakes is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. These two species of snake have a great deal in common, but also many differences, that can make for an interesting encounter if you find yourself in the company of either one. In this article, we’ll take a look at the similarities and differences between rattlesnakes and gopher snakes and explore the unique characteristics of each species.
|Lives in warm climates||Lives in cold climates|
|Hibernates in winter||Active throughout the year|
|Large size||Small size|
Rattlesnake Vs Gopher Snake: Comparison Chart
|Average length: 2-3 feet||Average length: 3-4 feet|
|Average weight: 1-2 pounds||Average weight: 3-4 pounds|
|Rattlesnakes have a triangular head, a rattle on their tail, and diamond-shaped patterns on their back.||Gopher snakes have a wide head, a solid color, and blotches or stripes along their back.|
|Rattlesnakes are more aggressive and will rattle their tail as a warning sign.||Gopher snakes are more docile and will play dead if they feel threatened.|
|Rattlesnakes prefer to eat small mammals, such as mice and rats.||Gopher snakes prefer to eat small reptiles, such as lizards and frogs.|
|Rattlesnakes are found in a variety of habitats, from deserts to mountains.||Gopher snakes are found in a variety of habitats, from grasslands to woodlands.|
Rattlesnake Vs Gopher Snake
Rattlesnakes and Gopher snakes are two types of venomous snakes that can be encountered in the United States. Both of these snakes are native to the country and can be found in various habitats. Both of these snakes can be dangerous to humans if they are disturbed or provoked, so it is important to know the differences between them.
Rattlesnakes have a triangular head and a rattle on the end of their tail. They are usually brown or grey in color and can range in size from a few feet to more than six feet in length. Gopher snakes, on the other hand, have a more rounded head and a smooth tail. They are usually lighter in color and can range in size from a few feet to more than eight feet in length.
Rattlesnakes have a distinctive pattern of diamond-shaped markings on their backs, while Gopher snakes typically have a pattern of stripes or blotches. Both snakes have vertical pupils, which are indicative of their venomous nature.
Rattlesnakes can also be identified by the sound of their rattle. Gopher snakes do not have a rattle and are generally silent.
Rattlesnakes are typically shy and prefer to remain hidden. They will usually only come out in the open if they feel threatened or if they are hunting for food. Gopher snakes, on the other hand, are more likely to be seen in the open during the day and are generally more active during the warmer months.
Rattlesnakes will usually retreat if they feel threatened, but they can be aggressive if provoked. Gopher snakes, on the other hand, are generally non-aggressive and will usually flee if they feel threatened.
When disturbed, a rattlesnake will usually use its rattle to warn potential predators. Gopher snakes will usually remain still and rely on their camouflage to keep them hidden.
Rattlesnakes have venom that can cause severe pain, swelling, and tissue damage. The venom from gopher snakes is not as potent as that of rattlesnakes, but it can still cause serious injury if not treated promptly.
Rattlesnakes have a pair of hollow fangs that are used to inject their venom into their prey. Gopher snakes do not have hollow fangs, but they do have several sharp teeth that are used to bite and hold onto their prey.
Rattlesnakes are considered to be more dangerous than gopher snakes due to their larger size and more potent venom.
Rattlesnakes can be found in a variety of habitats including deserts, grasslands, and woodlands. Gopher snakes, on the other hand, are most commonly found in open areas such as grasslands, fields, and agricultural areas.
Rattlesnakes are typically found in the western and southwestern United States, while gopher snakes are more widely distributed throughout the country.
In general, gopher snakes are more tolerant of human activity than rattlesnakes and can often be found in urban and suburban areas.
Rattlesnakes feed primarily on small mammals such as mice and rats. They will also occasionally eat birds and lizards. Gopher snakes, on the other hand, feed primarily on small rodents such as mice, voles, and gophers.
Rattlesnakes are solitary hunters and will usually hunt alone. Gopher snakes, on the other hand, are often found in groups and will sometimes hunt in packs.
Rattlesnakes are ambush predators and will usually wait for their prey to come close before striking. Gopher snakes are active hunters and will pursue their prey over short distances.
Rattlesnake Vs Gopher Snake Pros & Cons
Pros of Rattlesnake
- A warning rattle sound can keep away predators and other animals
- Can survive in a wide variety of habitats
- Are a good food source for many predators
Cons of Rattlesnake
- Are a potential danger to humans and pets
- Can carry numerous diseases
- Are a common target of hunters and poachers
Pros of Gopher Snake
- Have a mild temperament and rarely bite humans
- Live in a wide range of habitats and climates
- A great way to control rodent populations
Cons of Gopher Snake
- Are prone to becoming stressed when kept as pets
- Can be a potential danger to small pets and birds
- Are sometimes mistaken for venomous rattlesnakes
Final Decision: Rattlesnake Vs Gopher Snake
When it comes to Rattlesnake Vs Gopher Snake, both of these reptiles have their own unique characteristics. The decision on which is the better choice ultimately comes down to the needs of the individual. Both snakes can provide a wonderful pet experience, but there are some aspects that may be more important for some people than for others.
When it comes to size, the Rattlesnake typically grows to be larger than the Gopher Snake. This may be an important factor for some people, as they may prefer a larger pet. The Rattlesnake is also more widely known, since it is the only species that produces a rattle sound. This may be a plus to some, since they will have an easier time recognizing the snake.
On the other hand, the Gopher Snake is often less intimidating than the Rattlesnake. This may be a plus for those who are not as comfortable around a larger pet. Additionally, the Gopher Snake is more active and inquisitive, which may be a benefit for those looking for more interaction with their pet.
In the end, the decision of Rattlesnake Vs Gopher Snake comes down to the individual’s needs. Here are the three main reasons why one might choose a Rattlesnake or Gopher Snake:
- Size – The Rattlesnake is typically larger than the Gopher Snake.
- Recognition – The Rattlesnake is the only species that produces a rattle sound.
- Activity – The Gopher Snake is more active and inquisitive than the Rattlesnake.
Ultimately, the choice of Rattlesnake Vs Gopher Snake comes down to the individual’s needs and preferences. Both can provide a wonderful pet experience, but some people may prefer one over the other for various reasons.
Frequently Asked Questions
Rattlesnakes and gopher snakes are both species of venomous snakes found in the United States. They have similar physical characteristics, but can be distinguished by their behaviors and habitats. Read on to find out more about the differences between these two species.
What is the Difference in Appearance Between a Rattlesnake and a Gopher Snake?
Rattlesnakes and gopher snakes are similar in size and shape, but can be distinguished by their coloration. Rattlesnakes have a triangular shaped head and a diamond pattern on their back, while gopher snakes are usually grayish-brown in color with a striped pattern. Both species have a rattle on the tip of their tail that they use to make a loud buzzing sound when threatened.
In addition, rattlesnakes have vertical pupils and a heat-sensing pit between the eyes and nostrils. Gopher snakes do not have either of these features, and instead have round pupils and a single nasal opening.
What Type of Habitat Does Each Species Prefer?
Rattlesnakes are typically found in dry, rocky areas such as deserts and mountains. They prefer open spaces with plenty of hiding places, including crevices and burrows. Gopher snakes, on the other hand, usually inhabit grasslands and wooded areas. They like to hide in logs, burrows, and other hiding places, and are often seen near streams and ponds.
What Are the Different Behaviors of Each Species?
Rattlesnakes are usually more aggressive than gopher snakes, and will often rattle their tail as a warning before striking. They are also more likely to flee if they feel threatened. Gopher snakes, on the other hand, will usually remain still and rely on their camouflage to avoid detection. They will only strike if they feel cornered or threatened.
How Venomous Are These Species?
Rattlesnakes are more venomous than gopher snakes. Rattlesnake venom is powerful enough to kill small animals and can cause serious illness in humans. Gopher snakes are non-venomous, and their bite may cause minor irritation and swelling, but is generally considered harmless.
What is the Best Way to Avoid These Species?
The best way to avoid both rattlesnakes and gopher snakes is to be aware of your surroundings when outdoors. Wear protective clothing, such as long pants and closed-toe shoes, and stay away from areas where snakes may be found. If you come across a snake, remain calm and back away slowly. Do not attempt to touch or handle the snake, as this could provoke an attack.
The rattlesnake and the gopher snake are two very different species of snake. The rattlesnake is more dangerous, with its venomous bite, while the gopher snake is a non-venomous constrictor. Though both animals have a place in the wild, it’s clear that the rattlesnake is the more dangerous of the two. For that reason, always be sure to stay alert when out in snake country and be prepared to take the appropriate safety measures when encountering a rattlesnake.