In California as any other place in the world, there is survival of the fittest. The strong ones always get to survive in the end. It goes the same with the animal food chain. In this case, snakes are useful in controlling rodent population in places like California where wildlife is abundant. Snakes, such as Pacific gopher snake and San Diego gopher snake, are a quite common sight in Californian grounds and residential properties. Not all snakes are venomous; in fact, some of them are integral in lessening of the rodent population.
Snakes, as one of the most important predators, are useful in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Without them, we would be living in a rodent-ridden world where our houses and properties would be constantly harassed and destroyed by the rodent population. Snakes, like gopher snakes, are particularly attuned to the gopher diet as they can be found hunting for food. These carnivorous reptiles have a huge appetite, eating three or four times a day. Their hinged jaws allow them to eat prey that is almost three times wider than their heads. So, it may come as no surprise that bigger snakes would feed on rodents such as gophers, voles, rats and mice.
A type of gopher snake found in California, Pacific gopher snakes are friendlier than other snakes, let’s say, rattlesnakes. So, property owners found them to be quite effective in controlling the rodent population. When it is time to eat, they would forage in rodent burrows and look for any gopher they can get their hands on. When they are not looking for food, they would still crawl down to gopher burrows and rest up until they get hungry in three hours.
Most snakes in the United States are not venomous. However, it is very important to know the difference between non-venomous snakes and poisonous snakes since the latter can harm people. Non-venomous snakes have round pupils, two rows of scales near the tail and no identation between the nostrils and eyes, whereas the venomous snakes have elliptical pupils and a single row of scales near the tail. All in all, don’t be alarmed if you see a snake, they are probably not poisonous.