What does a Gopher Snake look like?
Gopher snakes are harmless colubrid species that only reach lengths around 3-4ft in captivity. They have a yellowish or pale brown base colour, with a series or large brown or black blotches along their back and smaller darker spots along their sides. When threatened they have been known to puff up their body, hiss and rattle their tail, similar to that of a rattlesnake. However don’t let that front fool you most Gopher snakes are generally really placid and can be handled without any issues.
Where do Gopher Snakes come from?
Gopher’s are endemic to North America, South and Central Canada as well as Northern Mexico. They prefer habitats such as woodlands, rocky outcrops and arid deserts. Their colouration also helps them blend in with their chosen environment.
How do I keep a Gopher Snake?
Gopher snakes are a super easy snake to keep, and a great beginner species if you fancy something a little different to a Corn snake. For babies we recommend the Habistat Snake Starter Kit as this is an escape proof enclosure and will last you easily a year or more, depending on how quick the snake grows. For juveniles and adults a wooden 3ft vivarium would be ideal as the wood helps keep in the heat in better.
Heating the larger enclosure can be done two ways, either via the use of heat lights connected to dimming thermostats or by using a heat mat connected to a mat stat. Each have their benefits of use, however one down side to using a heat mat is sometimes you may not be able to reach the optimal basking temperature depending on the size and wattage of the mat and without additional lighting the enclosure would be dull looking.
Personally we use a heat light connected to a dimming thermostat and ceramic light connected to a mat stat for night time temperatures. Please note when using heat lights in a snake enclosure, you should always have a heat guard around the bulbs to prevent the snake from burning itself.
General temperatures for Gopher snake’s should be 75-80F(23C-27C) with a hot spot around 85F(29C).
UVB is not essential for some snake species however we have found they do benefit from having a UVB source such as an Arcadia T5 Shade dweller or a compact UVB light. These give out a low but beneficial source of UVB without disturbing the snake.
Depending how you want the enclosure to look substrate and decor may differ. If you want to keep the enclosure nice and simple Lignocel or Aspen would be ideal. If you want more of a natural looking enclosure a sand and soil mix would look great, mixed in with Orchid bark or ZooMed Forest Floor. Decor for your snake should be positioned carefully so if the snake decides to slither over it, it wont fall down. Fake trailing or standing plants would also add some colour to the enclosure. In any snake or even lizard enclosure its always a good idea to have two or even three hides. One on the warm end of the enclosure, one on the cool end and another around the middle.
A water bowl big enough for the snake to sit and soak in should always be left in the enclosure. This will help with the humidity, give the snake a place to drink and also soak in when its due to shed its skin.
In captivity Gopher snakes will gladly eat rodents such as Mice and baby Rats. As they tend to be fantastic feeders many will strike feed, so we do recommend the use of tweezers to prevent nipped fingers.
If you are unsure on what size to feed to your snake don’t hesitate to call or email us.
Do your research
Before you commit to buying any pet, please do your own independent research.