This large constrictor is native to the western coast of the United States. It is just one of the several subspecies of Gopher Snakes that we have living in the United States. I look forward to seeing more of them on my current visit to California.
Although they can grow seven feet in length, most adults that I find are about half that size. I tend to find them in habitats such as meadows, fields and agricultural farmland; they are seldom found in dense forests.
Pacific Gopher Snakes range from cream to light brown and have dark blotches on their backs and smaller dark spots along their sides. Young examples tend to be more boldly patterned than adults.
Their keeled scales caused their skin to have a bit of a rough texture. Thier pointed head and enlarged scale in the tip of the nose are adaptations for burrowing.
The Pacific Gopher Snake can produce a loud hiss when agitated or fearful. This species will also inflate its body, flatten its head, and vigorously shake its tail, when threatened.
These snakes are primarily active during the day, though are sometimes seen moving and hunting at night – especially during warm weather. They are good climbers and burrowers.
Harmless to humans, these reptiles are important to keeping the rodent population in check and maintaining their local ecosystems.