Sunday, May 9, 2010

Brown vs. Brown

As promised in last week's adventure with brown snakes, here is your snake quiz.  See if you can tell which of the following snakes are rattlesnakes and which are gopher snakes.  The photographs below are all from the Dipper Ranch of the central California coast and are therefore either Northern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus) or Pacific gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer catenifer).  You can click on each photo to see an enlarged version.

Snake #1

Snake #2

Snake #3

Snake #4

Snake #5

Snake #6

Snake #7

[Answers now posted at The Colors Brown]


  1. I'm looking forward to your answers. I have such a hard time distinguishing between the snakes around here.

  2. Where do you live? I think it is a matter of seeing different snakes enough times until it is easy to tell the difference in their appearance and their behavior. I briefly review other brown snakes in central California here

  3. Dear Nature ID: just clicked your audio link and was pleased to hear Joni Mitchell sing to me where you live. I never knew she was playing a dulcimer on that song. Thanks.

  4. Again, thank you for your help!

  5. What no takers?
    Cindy you are so much fun.
    1.Gopher, shiny and tail shape.
    2. Handsome little rattle snake, head shape, dull color, fat body.
    3. Rattle, same as 2. 4. Rattle, now that’s a pit viper! 5, 6, and 7. Gopher, pupil shape, shiny, and narrow head.
    Like them all. Thanks Cindy.

  6. Better late than never...
    I'm guessing #3 & #4 are rattle and the others are gopher. Except for #2 which is a garden hose JUST KIDDING : )

  7. I didn't want to be the first to guess, but I guess gopher rattle rattle rattle gopher gopher gopher. And that, my friends, is a song waiting to be set to a drumbeat.


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