A gopher snake made an unexpected appearance in the crawlspace of a Summerland home during the festive season.
Rick Lambert found the snake, around 50 centimetres long, in the crawlspace of his home while he was searching for holiday ornaments.
He did not know what kind of snake it was, but because he had been bitten by a rattlesnake when he was young, he was cautious.
“The thing that concerned me was I saw it rattling its tail,” he said.
Gopher snakes are found in the southern interior of British Columbia. The Great Basin Gopher Snake is the largest snake found in the province and can reach a length of 2.4 metres. It is a non-venomous snake, but is often mistaken for a rattlesnake. A scared gopher snake will flatten its head, hiss and shake its tail, similar to the behaviour of a rattlesnake.
Lambert got some long barbecue tongs, picked up the snake and placed it in a storage container. Then he called the conservation officer service for advice.
“There’s no way I wanted to kill it,” he said. “It’s a beautiful little snake.”
Lambert also did not want to put the snake outside in the cold, although he was considering finding a warm spot for it in a compost pile.
Another Summerland resident has reached out to him and has offered to keep the snake in a terrarium in his home.
The Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society says it is not legal to keep wild snakes in one’s home. There are however facilities which are able to safely house these animals.
Following the advice of a conservation officer, the snake will be kept in the new accommodation until spring, when it will be released into the wild.
Lambert, who had been living in his home for just a few months, believes the snake may have entered through a plastic pipe to the crawlspace, or by burrowing through a covered trench.
While he has seen black widow spiders and wolf spiders in homes in the past, this is his first encounter with a snake in the house.
To report a typo, email: