Pet Gopher Snake: What You Need to Know Before Getting One

Pet gopher snake

About Pet Gopher Snakes

In terms of temperament, gopher snakes are generally calm and tolerant of handling. However, like all snakes, they should be approached with caution and respect. Regular handling and petting can help to establish a bond between you and your snake, making them more comfortable and less prone to stress or aggression.

Gopher snakes are relatively long-lived pets, with an average lifespan of 15-20 years if properly cared for. Routine health care, such as regular check-ups with a reptile veterinarian, is important to ensure their well-being. It’s also crucial to provide them with the right temperature and humidity levels, as well as regular shedding opportunities.

If you are considering getting a pet gopher snake, it’s recommended to purchase one from a reputable breeder or pet store that specializes in reptiles. They can provide you with a healthy and well-socialized snake, as well as guidance on their care and husbandry.

Why Choose a Gopher Snake as a Pet?

Why Choose a Gopher Snake as a Pet?

Choosing a gopher snake as a pet can be a rewarding and fascinating experience for reptile enthusiasts. These docile and low-maintenance snakes make great pets for both beginner and experienced snake keepers. Here are some reasons why you should consider getting a gopher snake as a pet:

Beautiful and Unique Appearance: Gopher snakes have a distinct and attractive appearance. They typically have a light background color with dark brown or black markings that resemble those of a rattlesnake. This mimicry not only adds to their beauty but also acts as a defense mechanism, helping them to deter potential predators.

Manageable Size: Gopher snakes are a medium-sized snake species, making them more manageable than larger snake species such as boas or pythons. As hatchlings, they are usually around 10-12 inches long, and they can grow up to 4-6 feet in length. Their size makes them easier to handle and house compared to larger snake species.

Overall, gopher snakes make wonderful pets for reptile enthusiasts of all experience levels. Their beautiful appearance, manageable size, adaptable habitat requirements, and mild temperament make them an excellent choice for anyone looking to add a pet snake to their collection.

Appearance and Size of Gopher Snakes

Appearance and Size of Gopher Snakes


There are several species of gopher snakes that are commonly kept as pets, including the Pacific gopher snake, the Sonoran gopher snake, and the Great Basin gopher snake. Each species has its own unique coloration and pattern variations, but they all share similar characteristics and care requirements.



Feeding and Diet

Make sure to provide a shallow water dish in the terrarium for your pet gopher snake to drink from and soak in if desired. Clean and refill the water dish regularly to ensure it stays fresh and clean.

Species Size Feeding Schedule
Pacific gopher snake 4-6 feet Once every 1-2 weeks
Sonoran gopher snake 4-6 feet Once every 1-2 weeks
Great Basin gopher snake 4-6 feet (can reach up to 7-8 feet) Once every 1-2 weeks

Overall, gopher snakes make fascinating and low-maintenance pets, suitable for reptile enthusiasts of all experience levels. With proper care and attention, these reptiles can live for 15-20 years in captivity.

Habitat and Enclosure Requirements

Gopher snakes require a temperature gradient within their terrarium. This means that one side of the enclosure should be warmer, with a temperature of around 85-90°F (29-32°C), while the other side should be cooler, with a temperature of around 75-80°F (24-27°C). This allows your snake to regulate their body temperature by moving to the area that suits them best.

As for humidity, gopher snakes prefer a relatively dry environment. The humidity level should be kept around 30-40%. This can be achieved by providing a shallow water dish for your snake to drink from and by lightly misting their enclosure from time to time.

In terms of substrate, choose a material that is easy to clean and doesn’t hold excessive moisture, as moisture can lead to bacterial growth and respiratory issues for your snake. Aspen shavings, cypress mulch, or reptile carpet are commonly used substrates for gopher snakes.

Decorate the terrarium with a few hiding spots, such as rocks or logs, to provide your snake with a sense of security. You can also add branches or artificial plants to create a more natural and stimulating environment for your pet.

Remember to regularly clean and disinfect the enclosure to maintain a healthy living space for your gopher snake. This includes removing any waste, replacing soiled substrate, and cleaning the water dish regularly.


Feeding and Diet of Gopher Snakes

It is crucial to ensure that the prey you offer is an appropriate size for your snake. Feeding your snake prey that is too large can lead to regurgitation and other health problems. On the other hand, feeding prey that is too small may not provide sufficient nutrition for your snake.

It is also important to properly sanitize your snake’s feeding area and any utensils used during the feeding process to prevent the spread of bacteria and diseases. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling any prey items or cleaning the snake’s enclosure.

While feeding your gopher snake, it is advisable to observe its eating habits. If your snake refuses to eat or shows a decrease in appetite, it may be a sign of stress or illness. In such cases, consulting a veterinarian specializing in reptiles is highly recommended.

Overall, providing a proper and varied diet is essential for the health and well-being of your pet gopher snake. By following these feeding guidelines, you can ensure that your snake remains healthy and content in its terrarium.

Gopher Snakes’ Temperament and Handling

Handling Tips:

Always approach the snake slowly and confidently to avoid startling it. Gently support the snake’s body and avoid squeezing or applying pressure. It is best to support it with both hands, one near the head and the other near the tail, to provide a sense of security and prevent any sudden movements that may cause stress for the snake.

Gopher Snakes’ Lifespan and Health Care


To ensure a long and healthy lifespan for your pet gopher snake, you should provide them with appropriate living conditions and a balanced diet. Regular check-ups with a reptile veterinarian can also help detect any potential health issues early on.

Health Care



Gopher snakes should always have access to fresh water. A shallow dish should be provided in their enclosure, and the water should be changed regularly to prevent contamination.

Temperature and Humidity:

Habitat Maintenance:

Regular cleaning of the gopher snake’s enclosure is essential to prevent the buildup of bacteria and other contaminants. Spot cleaning should be done regularly, and a complete cleaning and sanitization of the enclosure should be done at least once a month.

Veterinary Care:

Regular check-ups with a reptile veterinarian are essential for monitoring the health of your gopher snake. They can provide vaccinations, perform routine exams, and address any health concerns you may have. It is recommended to find a veterinarian experienced in treating reptiles to ensure the best care for your pet.

By providing proper care and attention to your gopher snake’s health, you can help ensure they live a long and fulfilling life as your beloved pet.

Where to Buy a Pet Gopher Snake

If you have decided to get a pet gopher snake, you may be wondering where you can buy one. There are several options available to you.

One option is to check with local pet stores or reptile specialty stores in your area. They may have gopher snakes for sale or be able to order one for you. Make sure to do your research and find a reputable store that has healthy snakes and proper care information.

Another option is to attend reptile expos or reptile shows. These events often have a variety of reptile vendors selling snakes, including gopher snakes. This can be a great opportunity to see different species and talk to knowledgeable breeders.

You can also consider buying a gopher snake online. There are numerous websites and online reptile stores that specialize in selling snakes. Make sure to read reviews and do your research before making a purchase to ensure that you are buying from a reputable seller.

Before bringing home a pet gopher snake, make sure you have everything you need to properly care for it. This includes a suitable terrarium, bedding, hiding spots, and heating and lighting equipment.

Tips for Caring for a Pet Gopher Snake

When choosing a pet, many people are drawn to the beauty and uniqueness of snakes. For those who are interested in a nonvenomous pet snake, the gopher snake is an excellent choice.

Gopher snakes are a species of snake that make great pets due to their calm disposition and low maintenance requirements. They are commonly kept in terrariums and can live for up to 20 years with proper care.

If you are considering getting a gopher snake as a pet, here are some tips for caring for them:

1. Habitat:

Provide a suitable enclosure for your gopher snake, such as a terrarium or reptile tank. The enclosure should be escape-proof and large enough to allow the snake to stretch out fully. It should also have hiding spots and climbing branches.

2. Temperature:

Gopher snakes require a temperature gradient in their enclosure. You should provide a heat source at one end of the enclosure (such as a heating pad or lamp) to create a warm spot of around 85-90°F (29-32°C). The other end of the enclosure should be cooler, around 70-75°F (21-24°C).

3. Feeding:

3. Feeding:

Gopher snakes are carnivorous and primarily eat rodents. Hatchlings can be fed small pinky mice, while adult snakes will require larger prey such as rats. Feed your snake once every 7-10 days and ensure the prey is no larger than the girth of the snake.

4. Handling:

5. Health Care:

Regularly check your gopher snake for any signs of illness or injury, such as changes in appetite, weight loss, or skin abnormalities. Keep the enclosure clean and provide fresh water at all times. If you notice any health issues, consult a reptile veterinarian.

By following these tips, you can ensure the well-being of your pet gopher snake and enjoy the unique experience of owning this fascinating reptile.