Keeping and Breeding of the Great Basin Gopher Snake

    Pituophis catenifer deserticola

1,0 deserticola, CB, 2 years old


Keeping and behavior

deserticola, my CB 2002, 1 month old

Adult Great Basin gopher snakes often reach only 1,5m in lenght and so it need only a medium sized terrarium with some hiding places and, if possible, a climbing branch. My adults seldom took a bath, so I gave them a medium sized bathbowl made of tone.The preferd temperatures of the Great Basin gopher snake is aprox. 26-28°C. The adult captive bred deserticolas are normaly calm. But the young ones and the wild caught animals often hiss and bite in the beginning. They normaly calm down in the next weeks. Good hidingplaces make this easier to the snake. But my wildcaught animal never got tame.


Because of its size my animals mostly get mice for food. They, too, like chicks and rats, but not all are great enough to eat them. They eat alive animals or thawned frost food.


One should offer them a 2-4month long hibernation periode at 5-15°C.

It is helpful for the fathering ability, but not always necesary.

Reproduction and breeding

After the hibernation the snakes eat some times and they get in mating mood. After the succsessful mating the eggs grow for 6-8 weeks in the body of the female. Some days after the pre egg laying shed it lay a cluch of 3-11 eggs. From my snakes I know clutches of 5-8 eggs.

After a medium incubation period of about 63-67 days the snakes begin to hatch.

Young snakes

After hatching the small Great Basin gophers have a lenght of 33 to 40 cm. The ground colour is normaly a little paler and the saddle markings are darker as in adults. The first food of my snakes are defrosted some days old mice. Non feeders are seldom.

The further keeping is without problems, if you keep the animal stress poor.

Maturity and lifespan

Depending on amount of food and the biological possibilitis of the animals the maturity begins in the 2nd or 3rd year.

In normal cases the snakes become aprox. 15 years ore a little more.

My snakes

In my terraria live an adult pair of them and some US C.B. animals.

Biology in Habitat

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