Biome: Great Southwest
Biography: Gopher snakes are long snakes, and can approach eight feet in length. These nonvenomous snakes are an important control on the rodent population. Mice, rats, squirrels, gophers and rabbits are common food items. Predators include hawks, kit foxes and coyotes. When threatened, a gopher snake coils up, vibrates its tails, hisses loudly, flattens its head into a triangular shape, and strikes. Along with the patterning on its back, this defensive behavior causes the snake to be mistaken for a rattlesnake. This mimicry can sometimes scare off a natural predator.