Gopher snake, Pituophis catenifer


Common names Gopher snake
Scientific name Pituophis catenifer
Country North America
Captive-bred Yes
Adult size 150-270cm (5-9ft)
Natural habitat Deserts, prairies, woodlands and brushland habitats
Housing 120cm x 60cm x 60cm (4ft x 2ft x 2ft) vivarium
Ideal temperature 32°C (89°F) (warm end); 22-25°C (71-77°F) (cool end)
UVI 2-3
Ideal humidity 40-50%
Diet Carnivorous
Average lifespan 12-15 years
Personality Skittish, but can be tamed
Ease of handling Easy
Cohabitable No


Do Gopher snakes make good pets?

Gopher snake, Pituophis catenifer are a highly diverse species of colubrid snake, comprising nine different sub-species, all of which originate from North America. In nature, this species is often mistaken for the Prairie rattlesnake, and even has a defence mechanism in which it puffs up its body, shakes its tail and raises its head into a similar strike pose as that of the Rattlesnake, which is believed to be a form of mimicry.

At Swell Reptiles, all of the Gopher snakes we have for sale were captive bred in the UK, meaning you can rest assured that your new snake came from a reliable source, with minimal impacts on their native environment.

What size vivarium does a Gopher snake need?

Adult Gopher snakes can reach around 150-270cm (5-9ft), so should be provided with a good amount of space to slither around in. We recommend a minimum enclosure size of 120 x 60 x 60cm (4 x 2 x 2ft) for an adult, for example, the VivExotic Repti-Home Bearded Dragon Vivarium Large. Glass or PVC enclosures can also be used, but for these sizes, they are generally required to be a custom build.

Do Gopher snakes need heating?

Gopher snakes naturally inhabit warm deserts, prairies, woodlands and brushlands, where they rely on external sources to control their own body temperature. The ideal basking temperature for this species is 32°C (89°F), whereas, the cool end should sit between 22-25°C (71-77°F).

To provide this thermogradient in the larger enclosures required for Gopher snakes, heat should be provided using an overhead heating system connected to a compatible thermostat. For example, a basking lamp and dimming thermostat, or a ceramic heat emitter and pulse thermostat.


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