On my last day in Nevada, I encountered this critter slithering across the trail while I walked the dikes at Henderson Bird Preserve. He was brown and gold and five feet long!
From a distance he didn't look like a rattlesnake, but I carefully examined his head and tail. (Binoculars are so useful!) No rattles, no diamond-shaped head. I felt fairly sure he wasn't venomous so I got a little closer than this to take his picture.
Later I showed my cellphone photo to a Bird Preserve volunteer who told me he's a gopher snake. The snake wouldn't hurt me as long as I didn't mess with him.
No chance of that!
Click here for a close-up of a gopher snake.
(photo by Kate St. John)