Rattlesnake captured eating a chipmunk in Okanagan Mtn Park

Rattlesnake snacks on dinner

A Kelowna resident captured a rattlesnake enjoying a mid-afternoon snack during a bike ride over the weekend. 

Dave Rolleston was mountain biking in Okanagan Mountain Park down the Wildhorse Canyon Trail when he nearly missed the reptile ingesting his prey. 

“I just swerved on the bike and stopped… and went to have a look and didn’t notice it had the chipmunk in its mouth until I got back to the scene.”

Castanet reached out to biologist and snake expert, Mike Dunn to identify the snake in the picture. He said it is a Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, also known as the Western Rattlesnake. 

“I believe that it has a yellow pine chipmunk in its mouth.”

Rolleston says he wasn’t scared of the reptile, as he has interacted with them frequently.

“I live in Okanagan Mountain Park, so we’re really familiar with rattlesnakes - we get about ten or fifteen per year on our property,” he said.

Dunn wants to remind the public to keep their distance, at least three metres, from a feeding snake.

“Both for the safety of the observer, but also so that the snake doesn’t regurgitate its meal so that the snake can more easily escape. Snakes infrequently feed and the loss of a meal is significant to the snake.”

Reptiles of British Columbia say the Northern Pacific rattlesnake is “distinguished from all other B.C. snakes by 3 features; a rattle on the end of its tail, a very distinct neck, and abroad, triangular head.”

They’re a quiet and non-aggressive snake, but are the only truly venomous species in the province.

“It’s not something that everybody gets to see on a daily basis and how close it is to the places we play … just to let people know that they’re out there, they’re amazing to look at and they’re a part of our forests," Rolleston said.

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