Gopher snakes make for beneficial rodent control

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Brian Sapp holds a large gopher snake found on his property in Anza. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
The misunderstood gopher snake is actually one of the best forms of natural rodent control that exists in the Anza Valley. With their stealthy manner and lightning quick strikes, mice, rats, squirrels and rabbits are on high alert when the serpents are on the hunt. Their common name, gopher snake, refers to their taste for gophers. They also love eggs, much to the chagrin of poultry keepers as they discover the reptiles swallowing their birds’ eggs right out of the nest. The local gopher snake species, Pituophis catenifer, is a large reptile, averaging an adult length of 48 to 66 inches. They are white, yellow or light gray with brown, dark or red blotches and stripes. The coloration helps hide them in the grass and shrubbery where they hunt. Their varied patterns also cause people
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