Name that snake.
October 21, 2014 4:25 PM   Subscribe

What kind of snake is this? My son captured a video of it today on the way home from school. Rattlesnake? King snake? Poisonous or not? It's moving its tail like a rattler but it otherwise doesn't look like any i've seen. Video here. This was in southern Utah. (And yes, he's been warned about approaching snakes in future...)
posted by mmoncur to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
I'm not super-familiar with the herps of the area, but looks like a king snake to me. The Utah DNR page seems to agree.
posted by griseus at 4:31 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

If it's a king snake it's harmless. They eat rattlesnakes. King snakes are our friends.
posted by COD at 4:36 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I agree that it is a kingsnake. Kingsnakes will definitely do the "tail rattle" thing (and everything else that that snake was doing).
posted by primalux at 4:38 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yep. Looks like a common kingsnake. They're non-venomous but I'm sure they'd bite/strike if cornered (says the person bit by her corn snake). Also a lot of snakes rattle their non-rattle tail; my corn snake does that when she's stressed and would like me to go away.

So pretty!
posted by hydrobatidae at 4:39 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

IAAHerpetologist and that is a kingsnake.
posted by agentofselection at 5:03 PM on October 21, 2014 [14 favorites]

Thanks everyone! I guess I'll worry a bit less about random snakes wandering the neighborhood...
posted by mmoncur at 5:38 PM on October 21, 2014

Having now just watched the video, that appears to be the twin brother of the 5 foot king snake that lives next door in my son's room.
posted by COD at 5:56 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Kingsnake, and the whole "can I kill it?" thing makes me concerned.
posted by The otter lady at 6:06 PM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

Don't worry, the snake is fine (and long gone) and the kids apparently thought it was fake until it moved, and then they ran away.
posted by mmoncur at 7:35 PM on October 21, 2014

the twin brother of the 5 foot king snake that lives next door in my son's room

You can tell because they both really share their father's eyes.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:39 PM on October 21, 2014 [6 favorites]

See, this is why smartphones are terrific. In the old days, a ten-year-old would have had to catch the snake and bring it home for ID.

We need to give outdoor cats smartphones to stop them bringing home snakes.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:39 PM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Way to remember the king snake:

Red and black--friend to Jack.
Red and yella--kill a fella.

Stay away from coral snakes ;)
posted by BlueHorse at 9:18 PM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Snake update in case anyone is following this: One of the kids' parents, a policeman, captured it in a cooler after the kids told him. I think he's going to release it in the nearby mountains or turn it over to a pet shop.
posted by mmoncur at 10:30 AM on October 28, 2014

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