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Pacific Northwest
Reptiles & Amphibians




Pacific Gopher Snake - Pituophis catenifer catenifer

(Blainville, 1835)






Range Map
Approximate range of P. catenifer
Red = range of P. c. catenifer
Click map to enlarge and see other subspecies names.


More Information

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Pacific Gopher Snake Pacific Gopher Snake Pacific Gopher Snake
Juvenile, Benton County, Oregon. © Gary Nafis.
Specimen courtesy of Chris Rombough

Short Videos
Pacific Gopher Snake Pacific Gopher Snake Pacific Gopher Snake Tail Buzzing
A Pacific Gopher snake, not happy to be picked up off the road by a crazy human, curls up in a defensive stance, investigates the camera, then crawls away. This movie contains no sound. The same Pacific Gopher snake as the one to the left shows its defensive arsenal, which includes coiling, puffing up, and elevating the body, flattening the head into a triangular shape, hissing loudly, shaking the tail, and striking repeatedly. When its tormentor (and photographer) backs off, the snake crawls away, keeping its head and neck defensively arched, ready to quickly coil and strike if needed. A distressed Pacific Gopher Snake shakes its tail rapidly, which makes a buzzing sound as the tail touches the ground. This behavior might be a mimic of a rattlesnake's rattlng, or it could be a similar behavior that helps to warn off an animal that could be a threat to the gopher snake.
Roadcruising Pacific Gopher Snake  
Here's a little taste of roadcruising - driving, driving, driving, then finally a snake is spotted on the road. This one is an intergrade gopher snake from  the sagebrush desert of eastern Siskiyou County. A large Pacific Gopher Snake is discovered under a small rock on a sunny late winter afternoon in Kern Canyon.  
 
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