Sunday, November 22, 2009

Great Basin Gopher Snake

The Great Basin gopher snake is found in the north part of Southern California, all of Nevada and Utah, and portions of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. The gopher snake, below, was found in the White Mountains above Big Pine, California in August 1993 at about 6,500 feet of elevation. I think it is the most colorful gopher snake I've ever seen.

In the Great Basin subspecies of gopher snake, the dorsal blotches near the front of the body are usually black and connected to each other, as in this one. By contrast, the Sonoran gopher snake generally has brown dorsal blotches near the front that are not connected to each other.

It is yellow, or cream colored and has black, brown or reddish brown dorsal blotches. Some have reddish orange in the interspaces between the blotches, like this one.

They are powerful constrictors and are one of the most commonly seen snakes.

They usually have a dark line across the head in front of the eyes and from behind the eye to the angle of the jaw. The closeup of the head below illustrates those dark lines.

The next three pictures illustrate the color variations in this one snake. The first picture is of the front of the body. The dorsal blotches are black and are connected to each other. There are also black, unconnected, horizontal side blotches.

The mid portion of the snake has brown, unconnected, dorsal blotches and brown, unconnected, vertical side blotches.

Finally, the tail has black, unconnected, doral blotches with reddish orange coloring in the interspaces and irregular shaped, unconnected, side blotches.


  1. Very nice article on how to classify it in comparison to some other sub species.