Does a gopher snake hiss?

Answered by Willie Powers

A gopher snake does hiss. In fact, the gopher snake is known for its ability to hiss loudly as a form of defense. This hissing behavior is often what leads to the snake being misidentified as a rattlesnake. When threatened or annoyed, the gopher snake will flatten its head, vibrate its tail, and strike if necessary.

I have personally encountered gopher snakes in the wild, and I can attest to the fact that they can produce quite a loud hissing sound. It is a distinct and unmistakable noise that can startle anyone who is not familiar with the behavior of these snakes.

The hissing of a gopher snake serves as a warning to potential predators or threats. It is their way of saying “back off” and letting others know that they are not to be messed with. This behavior is similar to that of rattlesnakes, which is why people often mistake the two.

In addition to hissing, gopher snakes also have other defensive behaviors. They may flatten their head to appear larger and more intimidating. This flattening of the head, combined with their hissing, can make them look quite similar to rattlesnakes at first glance.

It’s important to note that while gopher snakes may hiss and exhibit defensive behaviors, they are not venomous like rattlesnakes. They are non-venomous constrictor snakes that primarily feed on small mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Yes, gopher snakes do hiss as a way to defend themselves when they feel threatened or annoyed. This hissing behavior, along with other defensive actions like head flattening and tail vibrating, can lead to them being mistaken for rattlesnakes. However, it’s important to remember that gopher snakes are harmless and play an important role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems they inhabit.