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What kind of snake is this, and should I be worried?

I encountered this snake in my backyard on the Mesa. Could any of the naturalists at the SBMNH identify it, and more importantly, tell me whether or not it is venomous? We have wild rabbits in our backyard. If this guy is capable of attacking a rabbit, it is capable of biting me.

Anthony, Santa Barbara - June 3, 2019

Curator Response

Thanks for sharing this snake with us, Anthony. No need to worry: it's a gopher snake. They don’t usually take rabbits unless they find a litter of their kits. They are a beneficial predator of smaller pesky rodents, like gophers.

Curator of Vertebrate Zoology Krista Fahy, Ph.D.