Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by P. Dotson
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The gophersnake, Pituophis catenifer, occurs throughout most of North America. It is a common species in much of Utah, where it can be found in numerous habitats, ranging from lowlands to high mountains. Gophersnakes are good climbers and burrowers that are most active during the day. When alarmed, gophersnakes hiss and vibrate their tails; they are consequently often mistaken for rattlesnakes.

Female gophersnakes typically lay one clutch of two to twenty eggs during the spring or early summer of each year. Gophersnakes eat birds, bird eggs, small mammals, lizards, and insects, often killing their prey by constriction. Gophersnakes are typically large, with individuals longer than 100 inches in length not uncommon. Their backs are yellowish or cream colored with dark blotches, and their bellies are whitish or yellowish in color.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 1985. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 336 pp.