If you’ve never had the chance to hear a snake bark, now’s the time! Watch and listen as this gopher snake “barks” in anger as it’s removed from an Arizona home.
If hissing, or our hardwired, ancient fear of snakes wasn’t enough to keep you back, then perhaps the sight of one barking will.
Called in to this Mesa, Arizona home for a “rattlesnake removal,” snake catcher Marissa Maki of the state’s Rattlesnake Solutions comes across a far more welcomed guest: a 2-foot gopher snake.
While their patterns do mimic that of a rattlesnake, gopher snakes are non-venomous and harmless outside of their small bites. They’re great at pest control, and honestly quite adorable as snakes go. This does not, however, mean they will be any less ferocious when they feel threatened.
And that’s exactly what Maki finds out. Without a snake hook or any gloves, Maki handles the gopher snake directly during the removal. And the serpent is far from happy. Reacting with several lunges towards Maki and her camera, the snake lets loose its guttural ‘bark’ in an attempt to try and ward her off.
“He’s probably going to bite me… Don’t bite me. Don’t … do … it,” Maki repeats with adoration in her voice.
Luckily, she doesn’t suffer any snake bites from the small fellow. Instead, she’s able to film a remarkable and rare behavioral trait: snake barking.
How and Why does a Snake Bark?
“The sound you hear is air forced through the throat of the snake,” Rattlesnake Solutions’ original post reads on Facebook. This guttural forcing of air results in the snake’s unique “bark.”
As for why a snake would ever need to bark, that’s a little more self-explanatory. RS notes this species of gopher snake, a Sonoran gopher snake, will create a “voice intended to intimidate a perceived threat” through their “barking.”
“Gopher snakes are not venomous, and a bite from a snake of this size would result in little more than scratches,” the organization continues.
Within Maki’s footage above, several more “barks” escape the little fellow before she is able to transport him to safety via bucket. She’s as thrilled with the footage as the internet, too, as Maki says it’s the first time she’s ever heard barking coming from a snake.
Our barking snake is also a small, likely juvenile example of the species. Sonoran gopher snakes can reach 7 feet in length. And just like the Arizona woman in this video, if you ever see a snake inside your home – call the professionals (local animal control, most likely) to remove it. Never try to handle a snake yourself.