Great Bains Gopher Snake

The Great Basin Gopher Snake is a large, non-venomous snake. They have dark, blotchy markings running down their back with lighter, yellowish scales covering the rest of their body. They have large eyes and large heads.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Pituophis catenifer deserticola
CLASSIFICATION
Reptile
LIFE SPAN
10-15 Years
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • Unprotected
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Least Concern
GAME STATUS
Non-Game
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

Great Basin Gopher Snakes are found throughout Nevada. They occupy a wide variety of habitats. They prefer open areas for hunting such as grasslands, shrublands, and open forests. They also need rocky areas and soils soft enough for animals to burrow in that they use to hibernate.

  • Cold desert shrubland and sagebrush
  • Desert Washes
  • Mojave desert

Threats

  • Habitat Loss

Natural History

Great Basin Gopher Snakes are mostly diurnal and are one of the most spotted snakes in Nevada in the daytime. They do spend a lot of their time in burrows or sheltered under rocks in crevices.
These snakes eat a wide range of animals, mostly small mammals, birds and bird eggs, lizards, and other snakes. They subdue their prey with constriction. They find their prey in burrows and while out roaming in other sheltered areas. They occasionally consume rattlesnakes.
Predators that may consume a Great Basin Gopher Snake include birds of prey, coyotes, kit foxes, and sometimes kingsnakes. Many animals will prey on their eggs. They lay around 2 – 20 eggs in a clutch.

Fun Facts

Great Basin Gopher Snakes play an important role in managing small rodent populations in urban areas. Great Basin Gopher Snakes resemble rattlesnakes so much so that when they’re threatened they will flatten their heads to make them look bigger and make them look more like a rattlesnake to scare away predators.