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Vernon  

A snakey situation

Chantelle Deacon

Two Great Basin gopher snakes were caught on camera at Allan Brooks Nature Centre in Vernon getting a little bit feisty.

"What they were doing was wrestling," said Stuart Brown, snake expert, Allan Brooks Nature Centre. "They coil themselves up together, wrestle and tumble around until one gets tired and overpowered."

Male snakes often fight for a territory and/or mating rights.

"Usually that would mean that there is a female nearby," Brown said. "They aren't terribly territorial but if there is a good spot that they really like they will hold it."

The Great Basin Gopher Snake is the most common snake in the province and although they can get aggressive they are non-venomous, unlike the rattlesnake, which is also present in the Okanagan Valley.

If you aren't sure what to do when encountering a snake, specifically a rattler, Brown has some tips. "

"What you should do is locate the snake for sure," Brown said. "A lot of the time people hear the rattles and they just back up."

"A lot of the time the snake doesn't even see you until you have passed it, especially if you have stepped over a rock and it's hiding behind the rock."

"What you want to do is completely stop where you are and locate where the snake is and move away from it cautiously."

Rattlesnakes love sunshine near the base of a lake so that they can stay in the heat but can quickly slither into the lake nearby to cool off.



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