last changes: Saturday, January 05, 2008

 Keeping and Breeding of the Sonoran Gopher Snake

Pituophis catenifer affinis

amel. affinis male

amel. and heterozygote females of affinis

Keeping and Behavior

Adult gopher snakes reach rarely 2 m, it need a spacious terrarium with some stable hiding places and if it's possible a climbing branch. However, the climbing need of the adult animals lasts in limits.

As rare frequented bath bowl I offer one made of tone. The advantage temperatures of the gopher snake is between 25-27 ° C.

My cb 2002 affinis, aprox. 1 month old


The animals are'nt particular and take various rodents and birds. It doesen't matter if the food lives, fesh dead or whether it is thawed frost food is usually identical. Some of my adult animals refuse some times thawed mices and starved until there was living food again - but all like halfgrown rats - thawed or alive.


One should offer the animals a 2-3 month hibernation period at 5-15 ° C. It is also helpful to the fathering ability of the males but it was already obtained to have breeding success without a hibernation. With my animals I have tried it with one-month brumation in the terraruim with turned off lighting and heating. The temperature layd between 17-18 ° C during that time. The animals have come through very well and gone over easily the quiet phase without any breeding problems. I hibernate my animals at the moment the line of 6 weeks at about 12° C in the cellar and gets also fertilized eggs, too.

Propagation and Breeding

After the hibernation period the animals eat a few times and come in mating atmosphere. After about 6-8 weeks the female lays after a successful mating between 3-25 eggs at a suitable place. On my animals the quantity of eggs lie between 7 and 14. After the filing the eggs are converted into an incubator and breed about at approx. 27° C. They hatch after a middle incubation period of about 63-67 days.

Young Snakes

After they slipped they have a lengh between 35 and 45 cm.
Their coloring corresponds to the parents animals approximately but is the primary color usually a little more palely. At amel. animals the color is more intense of the saddle spots than with the adult animals. As first food considered several days old thawed mice or nest young rats. Food objectors are the exception.
The further breeding is easy, if one avoids deeper stress. The growth of these snakes is not quite as fast as that one of the melanoleucus group.

Maturity and Lifespan

Depending on food offer and animal qualities the sexually mature begins in the 2nd or 3rd year.
The snakes live 15-20 years old in the normal case.

My Animals

With me live some couples/groups of affinis: normal colored and an amel. couple. I expect breeding success from both couples.

Biology in Habitat

Copyright © Bernd Skubowius {2003-2008} {Webdesign von Martin Prange}. Alle Rechte vorbehalten