What kind of snake is this?

Asked April 3, 2020, 3:42 PM EDT

Can you please identify this snake located in Tucson, Arizona?

Pima County Arizona

3 Responses

Thank you for your question. The snake in your photograph is a Sonoran gopher snake, scientific name Pituophis catenifer affinis. It is a non-venomous species.

This snake is one of the longest in Arizona. Adults reach lengths of 5 - 7 feet. There are several subspecies of gopher snake. The Sonoran gopher snake is found from southern Colorado, western Texas, New Mexico and most of Arizona. They also occur in Sinaloa and northern Zacatecas, Mexico. They can be found in just about any habitat in Arizona below 9,000 feet elevation.

They have a varied diet. They generally focus on small mammals like gophers and rats, but will also eat rabbits, birds, other snakes, lizards and eggs. They spend much of their time underground in gopher and rat burrows searching for prey.

If threatened, gopher snakes will raise their head and neck off the ground into a striking position and produce a loud hiss. They also flatten their head to make themselves appear larger and vibrate their tail.

Here are a couple of links where you can find more photographs and information about this species:

http://www.reptilesofaz.org/Snakes-Subpages/h-p-catenifer.html

https://www.desertusa.com/reptiles/gopher-snake.html

I hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim


Outstanding service. Your excellent response was received within a few hours of asking. Thank you for the very informative response.

You're welcome! Contact us any time.

Jim