During the summer season we see more snakes.
KPVI’s Deanne Coffin set out to find out more about the snakes in our area.
As the Smith family heads up the trail for a hike, they talk about what they might see on their way up the hill.
“I told the kids there’s snakes out, so stay out of the tall grass and keep your eyes open and if you hear the rattle, just go the other way,” says Caitlin Smith, Pocatello.
Some people up at the City Creek Trail say they have seen snakes on the trail but experts say that although it’s not totally out of the question to see rattlesnakes in the area, more than likely it’s a gopher snake that people are seeing.
“It’s a common native snake here in Idaho and I have a feeling a lot of people are seeing gopher snakes right now, especially in the afternoon when they’re out sunning, asphalt, pathways, trails, ect…,” says Peter Pruett, Zoo Idaho.
Peter Pruett with Zoo Idaho introduces Pat the gopher snake. He says Pat’s pretty harmless as he holds him in his hands, but says gopher snakes tend to mimic rattlesnake’s behavior, in that if they feel threatened, even though they don’t have a rattler, they will lift their tail up as if they do.
He says a rattlesnake will usually warn you by rattling its tail and a rattlesnake’s head is shaped like a heart and a gopher snake’s head is more oval.
He says the two snakes color is similar, but their patterns are different.
“A rattlesnake has a diamond pattern, so the tan markings on Pat here, are rectangular. The tan markings on a rattlesnake would be larger and more of a diamond shape,” says Pruett.
A customer service representative for Idaho Fish and Game says they’ve received several calls about snakes in the area.
“There’s some concern, especially with the warmer weather that people are coming across more rattlesnakes. People are more out and about then they may have been previously, so they’re seeing things that may even look like a rattlesnake but may just be a gopher snake,” says Nissel Baker, Customer Service Representative, Idaho Fish and Game.
Reese Jensen says he goes up the City Creek Trail three days a week and says he’s seen more snakes than normal this year.
“Yes, a bunch, just about, definitely every week,” says Reese Jensen, Trail Hiker.
“We just try to be aware and stay safe. This is their habitat, so we want to make sure that we’re respectful of their boundaries and give them the space they need,” says Smith.
Zoo officials say the snakes are good for pest control, but if you run across one, he says don’t try to play with it or pick it up, just let it be.