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Gopher Snake

Photo by Suzanne L. Collins

Common Name: Gopher Snake

Scientific Name: Pituophis catenifer

Also Called: Bullsnake

Size: Length in Kansas up to 88 3/4 inches


Kansas range map for the Gopher Snake

Range: Found throughout Kansas.

Description: Harmless. Largest snake in Kansas; keeled scales; pattern of 33–73 large brown or black blotches on brownish yellow body. Tail with alternating yellow and black bands. Belly yellowish with variable black mottling. Young same as adults.

Habits: Lives in open grasslands as well as open woodland and woodland edge; common in cultivated fields where there is an abundance of rodents. Active from April to November; generally diurnal, basking in the sun or foraging for food, but becomes nocturnal during hot summer months. Number of eggs per clutch ranges from 3-22. Constrictor. Most economically beneficial snake in Kansas, consuming large quantities of rodents and saving farmers from much grain loss; also eats pocket gophers, rabbits, ground squirrels, birds and bird eggs. Emits a loud “hiss” when disturbed or frightened.