Snakes are emerging from dens

bull snake

Idaho’s snakes are emerging from their dens after a long winter. A reader wrote in a few days ago that he spotted a gopher snake coming out of a hole at Celebration Park along the Snake River, south of Nampa. That means rattlesnakes will also be coming out of their dens.

“Usually the native snakes in this area begin to emerge during the warm days of late March and into April and May,” said Idaho snake expert Frank Lundburg. Lundburg is a wildlife educator and also an adjunct instructor for herpetology workshops at Boise State University.

They don’t usually go far from their dens because of the erratic weather, he said.

Great Basin gopher snakes, which are native to Idaho,  can be distinguished from Idaho’s native rattlesnake because the gopher snake has no rattle, a smaller head and different patterns on its body.

Both snakes share the same habitat, said Lundburg. And some species share the same den.

“Gopher snakes are more active eaters than rattlesnakes and may consume more rodents in an area causing the rattlesnakes to move on (gopher snakes do not eat rattlesnakes),” he said.

This is the time of the year to be aware of snakes as they leave their dens and that’s why they are seen more often. Give them a lot of space. Don’t disturb them while they might be in a more sleepy state because of the colder weather.

File photo of a gopher snake by Pete Zimowsky/Idaho Statesman

Posted in Into the Outdoors