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Cape Gopher Snake

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Is the Cape Gopher Snake right for you?

Species group:

Scientific name: Pituophis melanoleucus vertebralis

The basics:
Cape Gopher Snakes are native to the Baja Peninsula, also known as the Cape of Baja, thus the reference in the name. Their habitat is as varied as tropical forests, high mountain forests, scrublands, and other arid environments with high relative humidity.

Appearance / health:
Cape Gopher Snakes mature to a length of about 5 feet. The common base body color can be yellow, red, and light to dark brown. The narrow head has no markings, and the neck is slim. Blotches of red or orange care present on the back, gradually turning square-ish towards the rear. A hypomelanistic variety with faint coloration is seen among captive bred individuals.

Behavior / temperament:
Cape Gopher Snakes are shy and temperamental, especially at high temperatures. They prefer quiet and stress-free environments and habitats. They can also be quite active but should be handled gently.

Housing:
Cape Gopher Snakes are best kept in medium to large enclosures that are equipped with climbing branches, hide boxes, and a stable shallow water dish. Substrate must dry quickly because Cape Gopher Snakes prefer dry and arid habitats. Day temp should be about 75-78F because higher temperatures can cause behavioral and health problems.

Enclosure should always be clean and dry. Fresh water should be provided daily but ensured that spills are taken care of promptly.

Diet:
Like other Gopher Snakes, Cape Gopher Snakes feed on small rodents. In the wild, they also prey on lizards. Feeding at high temperatures causes regurgitation.

Breeding:
Cape Gopher Snakes mate in the spring, and then lays 5-10 eggs 45 days afterwards. Healthy mature females can lay two clutches per year. Eggs hatch after about 70 days.