Elysian Park snake X-ing

Photo by Susan Borden

Susan Borden of Echo Park was walking with a group in Elysian Park this morning when their stroll was interrupted by the sight of the large snake slithering across their path near Angel’s Point overlooking Dodger Stadium. It was “possibly the largest I’ve seen in the park,”  said Borden.

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  1. What a beauty!

  2. My friends and I saw one about the same size on Saturday afternoon on the dirt trail below Park Dr. It was the biggest snake I’ve ever seen in the wild! Is it snake season or something?

  3. Gopher snake.

  4. Echo is right: gopher snake. TREMENDOUSLY BENEFICIAL and nonvenomous. The problem with gopher snakes is that when threatened they’ve adapted a defense posture that mimics rattlesnakes. They’ll rear up into a strike position and vibrate their tail tips at high speed. This works pretty well against many four-legged predators, but not so well against humans who don’t know the difference and instead of just leaving the creature alone, will come back with a good-sized rock or branch or hand grenade. In the immediate aftermath of a gopher snake’s so unfortunate and ironic demise, if you listen carefully you can here the area rodent population collectively high-fiving.

  5. It is snake season! As it gets warmer they get out and run all their errands with more frequency. I keep an eye out for them everytime I walk the loop, but I haven’t been fortunate enough to catch a sighting like this. Will is spot on about their mimicry of rattlers, and while they aren’t venomous, it doesn’t tickle when they bite. If you come across such a snake, as soon as it knows you are there it is most likely just going to slither off the trail, so there’s no need to attack it.

    This is also a great reason to keep dogs on leashes in semi-wild places, there is plenty of wildlife in Elysian and leashes keep both dogs AND crucial wildlife safe.

    Also, with the huge gopher population, every native snake is vitally important to balancing the population of invasive rodents.

  6. Could use a family of this fellow, we’re gopher central where I live.

  7. I saw on of these this morning too. I have no idea how long it was though as I could only see it’s head sticking up out of the ground. The rest of its body was INSIDE A GOPHER HOLE!!!!

  8. Just one word of advice: If you absolutely know what type of snake you have come upon and that it is safe, then fine, be up close. But if you don’t know, then stay the hell away, not on top of it like these people! Snakes can strike incredibly fast, far faster than you can do anything to avoid. And they can strike a farther distance than you probably expect. Surrounding a snake, as in this pic, is NOT going to make it feel safe. Fortunately, this one was not a dangerous one.

    Re this being snake season, yes, it is. Many snakes actually hibernate in the winter, and come out of it in May. Every year, there are a LOT of people getting bitten by snakes in May and June. The snakes are quite hungry following hibernation and out and about.

  9. I found one of these on the lower trail below Sargent last July 4th. At first we did think it was a rattlesnake poised to strike, but saw that it wasn’t. Sadly, it died in front of us. It could have been the result of a mistaken human, but it looked more like a bird of prey had had it up high and dropped it to the ground. RIP beautiful gopher snake.

  10. I must have seen the same snake Susan did right off Park Drive.
    I hope that snake eats every one of those damn pesky gophers!

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