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San Diego Gopher Snake

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Is the San Diego Gopher Snake right for you?

Species group:

Scientific name: Pituophis catenifer annectens

The basics:
The San Diego Gopher Snake is native to southern California from Santa Barbara County to the Baja region of Mexico. They are also found in low mountain ranges (lower than 9000 feet above sea level) from Los Angeles to San Diego. They inhabit desert regions but also frequent suburban areas like vacant vicinities and abandoned buildings.

Appearance / health:
Because of the proximity of natural habitats of other Gopher Snakes in the west coast areas of the US, San Diego Gopher Snakes exhibit various colorations and markings. Growing to about 5 feet in length, their base body color ranges from cream to yellow, tan, or gray. Square-shaped brownish black blotches are seen on the back with smaller ones along the sides. Blotches on the mid-section of the snake are lighter than those on the head or tail. Belly colors are white, yellow, and tan, sometimes with dark spots. The characteristic dark lines that run between the eyes and from the eyes to the jaw are noticeable. The rostral scale is dominant and protruding. Scales are keeled. Common enhanced versions include hypomelanistic, anerythristic, albino, and the famous Applegate phase of orange blotches on a yellow enamel body color.

Behavior / temperament:
San Diego Gopher Snakes are typical Gopher Snakes that are mostly docile but can easily become stressed. When threatened, they hiss, shake their tails, and poise to strike. With regular gentle handling, they become tame but will remain easily startled and defensive.

Housing:
San Diego Gopher Snakes are best kept in medium to large tanks with climbing branches and newspaper or paper towel substrate that is deep enough for burrowing. A water dish should be provided for drinking and soaking.

Fresh water should be provided daily and the enclosure cleaned and disinfected regularly. Care should be taken that the snakes are not disturbed when digesting their meals.

Diet:
True to the Gopher Snake name, the primary diet of San Diego Gopher Snakes is pocket gophers. They also prey on other small mammals as well as lizards, birds, eggs, and nestlings.

Breeding:
San Diego Gopher Snakes lay clutches or 3-24 eggs that hatch in 65-70 days.