Great Basin Gopher Snake
Pituophis catenifer deserticola

Common Name:
Great Basin Gopher Snake

Scientific Name:
Pituophis catenifer deserticola

    Hatch: 8 to 12 inches
    Adult: 36 to 72 inches

Scalation: (coming soon)


By: Jason Nelson


This subspecies resembles the Sonoran gopher snake, but the dorsal blotches toward the front of the body are usually black (blotches are gray with black edging in young) and connected to one another and to the secondary blotches on the side of the neck, forming a lateral dark band, which leaves the interspaces as isolated pale dorsal blotches. My opinion this gopher has a wide range of coloration from locality to locality.


Several aberrant animals have been collected and there is a rumor of at least one albino.


British Columbia south through Washington, Nevada, California and eastward through Idaho, Utah, Arizona, to Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.


Lives in a variety of habitats from lowlands up into the mountains. Frequents deserts, prairies, brushland, woodlands and farms.

This snake is a good climber and burrower, active chiefly by day except in the hot months when it becomes nocturnal in cooler months most active in early mornings and early evenings. When aroused it hisses loudly and sometimes flattens it head and vibrates its tail. This causes these snakes to be mistaken for rattlesnakes and sometimes killed.


Preys on mostly small rodents, mice, rats, rabbits, birds and lizards.


One or two clutches of eggs, 2-24 eggs, are laid June through august. the eggs are measured about 30 by 90 mm and hatch 52 to 85 days. Wild snakes are thought to reach sexual maturity in three or four years.


Gopher snakes are popular pets usually becoming docile in captivity and always reliable eaters.
Captive breed gophers tend to be aggressive as hatchlings, but usually mellow out with age and become easier to handle.

There are one or two individuals who give the gopher snake a bad rep, because of the aggressive behavior (usually hatchlings)


1. Field guide to western reptiles and amphibians (Robert C. Stubbins)
2. Field guide of snakes of California (Phillip R. Brown)
3. Audubon society field guide to north America reptile and amphibians

Power 1998