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Has_Gophers 04-05-2011 11:28 PM

Can gopher snakes be released into the wild?
I live in a suburban semi-rural part of the San Francisco Bay Area where the weather is mild.

My yard (1/3 acre), and the open canyon behind me, is infested with gophers.

Can I purchase one or more gopher snakes and release them to snack on the gophers? Could I even release the snakes directly into the gopher tunnels to point them in the right direction? This was suggested to me by a co-worker.

I would only consider this if I was sure the snakes could survive, might have an observable effect on the gopher population, and would not pose a hazard to the cats in the neighborhood (and vice versa).

If this is feasible, what age and size gopher snake would most likely thrive under such conditions?

Thanks for your feedback.

lovesnuffles 04-15-2011 02:51 AM

Are gopher snakes native to your area? If so, I don't see a problem with it ... If they're not native however, we'll have to ask you to please be courteous to us snake keepers and don't do it. People releasing non-native species into the wild has caused the government to try to ban our keeping snakes as pets.

Has_Gophers 04-16-2011 12:16 AM

Thanks for mentioning that I need to find out whether or not gopher snakes are native to my area.

I had completely overlooked the importance of this. I'll check it out before considering any further action.

DodoBird27 04-16-2011 03:30 AM

Oh hey, that's where i'm from :) I'm east bay. There are gopher snakes native to here, but I still don't think you should use snakes to fix the problem. I don't think a gopher snake would be at all big enough to harm cats, but I don't think they would survive. Correct me if I'm wrong snuffles, but I would think that captive bred snakes (which is what most gophers are) would die if released.
I'm sure there are more efficient ways to control the gophers anyway. Just Googling around for two minutes I found that sticking the hose in a hole and turning it on for at least 15 minutes seems to be popular. Even one interesting, but unproven, idea said to pop a stick of gum in the hole. Apparently the gopher will choke, or it can't digest it. I can't remember which. My dad had gopher problems before we got a dog (which cleared them right out lol). He ended up burying some things in the ground that let off a pule every few seconds that scared them away.

DennyS 04-16-2011 05:46 AM

Just to add my two cents... if they are not native to your local or if the subspecies of gopher you have is not (local specific) you would be breaking a federal law to release them.... Gopher snakes are a generally small and would take years to get to a size where they would help your gopher problem! A rat snake would do better.

Dodo... a snake will survive IF it is in the area where it is native even if having been CBB for generations. The survival skills never go away in reptiles! They know how to hunt.

What.... nobody else voted??? geez!

lovesnuffles 04-16-2011 01:14 PM

Yeah, you'd have to buy fully grown gopher snakes to be able to get anywhere, but they would survive if they were native. Like Denny, said, those instincts don't go away. When we feed them in captivity, they still know how to hunt for and kill their food. They just have to work a little harder for it in the wild lol.

DennyS 04-16-2011 03:30 PM

Or wait a little longer for

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