Are Gopher Snakes a Threat? (pics of the big guy)

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Atomic Ranch, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. Atomic Ranch

    Atomic Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2011
    El Cerrito, So Cal
    Greetings [​IMG]

    I've seen snakes in the yard-- garter, king, etc.. but not one of this size, nor one near my coop and run. It's about 4 1/2 feet long. It was in the drive, headed in the direction of the chickens. I don't have any chicks or bantams, so I'm wondering if it had bad intentions with the larger birds? Would be strange. I am, however, expecting perhaps one chick (by my broody) in a day or so.

    What to do? I like snakes... don't really want to kill it... I think doing that illegal anyway yes? It's out of sight now, but if it returns, any opinions would be great. Thanks!

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  2. Aschenfire

    Aschenfire Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 8, 2012
    That snake will not be able to eat a grown chicken...they don't even try with prey which is much too big for them. It might, however try to eat eggs..I don't know if rat or gopher snakes are egg eaters. They will also eat small chicks.
     
  3. Atomic Ranch

    Atomic Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2011
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    My mother says "no way, that thing was about 7 feet!" I don't think so, but maybe I've underestimated, lol.

    Nonetheless, I'm sure it could get into the run through the fence if it wanted to. If that chick hatches, will the mother (or the others) protect it from the snake? Would the chickens actually attack it or be intimidated?
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  4. Jaxon4141

    Jaxon4141 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your pictures sure looks like a gopher snake. He's/she's is big so it has been around your area for a long time. They will eat small birds, but they are ambush predators, and I doubt that it would venture into your run if there's not much cover for it. Full grown chickens are quite hard on snakes in the open. Gopher snake will eat eggs if it can find a way into the coop without having to confront chickens. However, a snake that make a meal of eggs doesn't come around often. It takes them a long time to digest a large meal, sometime almost a month. There main pray are rodents and smaller snakes, which is a plus for most of us. If it hasn't bother you in the past maybe it won't now, just depends on how comfortable you are with taking a wait and see approach.
     
  5. bakerjw

    bakerjw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's a beautiful snake. It certainly might try to take a chick if presented the opportunity; however chickens will peck at anything that isn't bolted down, and in some cases even things that are bolted down.
     
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  6. Atomic Ranch

    Atomic Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2011
    El Cerrito, So Cal
    Thanks for your thoughts and reassurance! It did seem pretty mellow, and even though I was admonishing it, and the Cochin roo was admonishing it, he/she seemed to simply go on their merry intended route. I'm pleased as pie if it will reduce my gopher population as well. You're right-- it's either an abandoned/escaped pet, or it's been around here a while. The property had been abandoned for several years before my arrival, so many critters made themselves comfortable it seems!
     
  7. NYboy

    NYboy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Many people here have had adult chickens killed by snakes that where to big to be eaten. Sure sign is dead birds head and neck slimed when snake tryed to swollow.
     
  8. Atomic Ranch

    Atomic Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2011
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    Ew, good heavens. [​IMG] Well, what would you do to keep a snake out? They're pretty creative.
     
  9. Aschenfire

    Aschenfire Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A snake the size of this guy will not even attempt a grown bird...He or she might have a hard enough time in not being harassed by the birds. Enjoy having it around, you'll see less vermin in your coop, that's for sure :D

    I think many people on the forum just dislike predators of any size or shape, and are going to tell you to watch your birds, your kids, your car, your dogs, kids, and for heavens sake, lock up the house since they might just move right in! Think about the size of that snakes head and the size of a fullgrown chicken...it (even with its tiny reptilian brain) will know it cannot swallow a whole chicken. I had pet snakes, and they'd refuse food if said food was much bigger than what they had been able to swallow easily before...I think you'll be fine.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  10. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    I have had rat snakes that size swallow or try to swallow a few of my five month old Silkies. I don't know about gophers however. Any rat snake I see, gets relocated to woods further away from the farm. I also use small hardware cloth on my cages to keep them from squeezing in.
     

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