Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Biggest Gopher Snake EVER

On the way up the Slavin Gulch Trail in the Dragoon Mountains with my friends Greg Corman and Deb Vath today, I spotted a huge Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer, also called Bullsnake) basking under a Beargrass clump. I called the others back so they could see it, but before I could get some satisfactory pictures, it slithered down a large hole.

On the way back down, Greg spotted it under the same Beargrass (Nolina microcarpa, family Asparagaceae, not the lily known by this English name in the genus Xerophyllum in the Cascades), and I was not only able to get a nice photo of her sitting quietly, but she allowed me to handle her with no perceptible agitation. This was by far the biggest Gopher Snake I have ever seen and handled, and that's many – dating back to before I can remember. We suspect she was about 6 feet long. (She: because the tail was short and abruptly narrow posterior to the vent; males have a longer, more graduated tail that is not obviously narrower starting at the vent.)


  1. That IS a big girl. I lifted one up here in our front yard and she was about as long as I am tall, but I'm only five something (170 cm). I saw her later mating, then again when she'd grabbed a squirrel in its hole...and we see her babies every year...

  2. Love it! You are in my favorite area, and the sonoran gogher is just awesome!
    I have yet to see any in my yard this year because of the crazy weather, but soon the will be out.

    Keep up the awesome post!

  3. thank you for posting your pictures of the Bull Snake. I was looking for information last night. We have a 6 footer that is caught in a live rabbit trap. I will try and work it out of the 1 inch square that it tried to craw through yesterday evening to get to a bunny that we were trying to catch that was living in the garden.