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Cabeza Prieta Natural History Association
Sonoran Desert Reptiles
Pituophis catenifer (Gopher snake)



 Gopher snake

 Gopher snake

 Gopher snake

Diet: rats, mice, rabbits, birds, lizards
Size: 34" to 108" (86 to 275 cm)

Identification: 30 - 110 in. (76-279cm). Large, yellow, or cream colored, with black, brown, or reddish brown dorsal blotches, usually more widely spaced on tail than body. Some populations have tan or reddish orange in dorsal interspaces between blotches. Smaller secondary blotches on sides. Usually a dark stripe across the head in front of eyes and from behind eye to the angles of jaw. White to yellowish below, often spotted with black. When aroused it hisses loudly and sometimes flattens and broadens its head and vibrates its tail. In dry leaves, vibrating tail may sound lake a rattler. This behavior, along with its markings, sometimes diamond-shaped, causes these snakes to be mistaken for rattlesnakes and killed. Eats rodents, rabbits, moles, birds and their eggs and nestlings, and occasionally lizards and insects, kills chiefly by constriction.


Excerpts from A FIELD GUIDE TO WESTERN REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS, 3/e by Robert C. Stebbins. Copyright (c) 2003 by Robert C. Stebbins. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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Natural History of the Sonoran Desert and Refuge