Skip Navigation

Species Search:
threatened and/or endangered

Gopher Snake Pituophis catenifer


enlarge +

Gopher Snake, Pacific subspecies
credit: Antandrus

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Alternate name: Bullsnake

Family: Colubridae, Colubrid Snakes view all from this family

Description Yellowish or pale brown, with a series of large dark brown or black blotches, and smaller dark spots on the sides. Underside yellowish, either uniform or with brown markings.

Dimensions 120-240cm. (48-96")

Warning When confronted, the Gopher Snake will loudly hiss, flatten its head, and vibrate its tail rapidly in order to scare off a human or other potential predator. It may then lunge at the intruder and strike. Its bite is not venomous.

Subspecies Sonoran - reddish brown blotches. Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, California to Mexico.
San Diego - fused together blotches black. California to Baja California.
Pacific - blotches black/brown. Oregon, California.
Great Basin - Black blotches also on sides. British Columbia, Washington, Nevada, California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.
Santa Cruz Island - 27-29 rows of scales, similar to San Diego. Santa Cruz Island.
Bullsnake - 41+ blackish/brown blotches on body. Alberta to Wisconsin, Indiana, Texas and Mexico.

Breeding Up to 2 clutches of eggs laid in summer.

Habitat Various.

Range British Columbia to Wisconsin, California and Texas.

Discussion Often mistaken for rattlesnakes. Subspecies spread across the United States.