Sonoran Gopher Snake

(P. c. affinis)

Picture by Kevin Penney (Click to enlarge)

Size: Up to 100", commonly found at 6+ feet.

Range in Texas: Only extreme West Texas, Hudspeth and Culberson Counties being its eastern limits.

Comments:  The Gopher Snake is one of the more common snakes found in Hudspeth County. I mostly find these snakes during daylight (sunrise and dusk) hours but I have also found them at night during the hotter parts of the summer. They grow very large and are powerful constrictors with large teeth. The larger ones can inflict a nasty bite. 

    Unfortunately they put on an impressive defense display. They coil, hiss loudly and strike repeatedly. This causes some people to believe that they are poisonous or are even a rattlesnake. This usually leads to them getting shot, chopped, smashed or run over. When first located, most Gopher Snakes are somewhat aggressive but will usually calm down in captivity and eat very well. I kept one 2 yrs. ago that was around seven (7) feet in length. Feeding was easy; all I had to do was walk outside and shoot a cottontail which he ate with ease. I recently found a Neonate red phase Gopher Snake about 5 miles North of Sierra Blanca that is now in the collection of Buzz Ross. Some of the Gopher Snakes that I find in Hudspeth County look more like Bullsnakes, so I assume there is some intergrading in this area.

The above pictured snake was found (by G. Lopez) on December 3, 1999 on Farm Road 1111 about 18 miles South of Sierra Blanca, Texas. The previous night was approximately 27 degrees and about 40 degrees when she was found crossing the road Alive and in good condition. The first thumbnail is close-up of a Gopher Snake August of 2001, the second is of a juvenile gopher snake caught South of Sierra Blanca, Texas on FM 1111. The third thumbnail is of a juvenile Bullsnake caught near Balmorea, Texas. They are very hard to tell apart. The Gopher snakes seem to be more of a reddish color. Click on any of the thumbnails to view a larger version. 

click for Close-up juvenile Gopher snake found in Hudspeth County juvenile Bullsnake found in Reeves County (Near Balmorea)