What do gopher snakes eat?


Quick Answer

Gopher snakes' diet is mainly comprised of small mammals, including rabbits and rodents, but they may also eat other snakes and lizards, birds or eggs. Gopher snakes need sunlight and warmth to digest their food, which is why they do not eat during the winter months and hibernate instead.

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Full Answer

Gopher snakes can be found in a variety of areas, from California to Mexico and even Canada, and may be easily mistaken for rattlesnakes because of their coloring and defense tactic of imitating the rattlesnake's signature sound. The gopher snake is present in almost all North American areas, and the snake's diet often depends on what kind of prey is native to the area.

Gopher snakes kill by constricting their prey, which means that the size of the snake also determines the size of the prey. Young snakes will stick to small lizards, eggs or very small rodents that they can wrap around and squeeze, while fully grown gopher snakes, which can reach lengths upwards of 4 feet, have more options.

Gopher snakes use their sense of smell to hunt prey and tend to be opportunistic killers because of their relatively slow speed. Their venom is not poisonous, although a hard bite will still slow their prey down.

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