Overview

Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Physical Description

Type Information

Lectotype; Syntype for Pituophis catenifer deserticola
Catalog Number: USNM 18070
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1891
Locality: Beaverdam Mountains, Washington, Utah, United States, North America
  • Lectotype: Klauber, L. M. 1947. Bull. Zool. Soc. San Diego. 22: 27.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 206.; Syntype: Klauber, L. M. 1947. Bull. Zool. Soc. San Diego. 22: 27.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 206.
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Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Paralectotype; Syntype for Pituophis catenifer deserticola
Catalog Number: USNM 18067
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1891
Locality: Argus Range, Shepherd Canyon, Inyo, California, United States, North America
  • Paralectotype: Klauber, L. M. 1947. Bull. Zool. Soc. San Diego. 22: 27.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 206.; Syntype: Klauber, L. M. 1947. Bull. Zool. Soc. San Diego. 22: 27.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 206.
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Paralectotype; Syntype for Pituophis catenifer deserticola
Catalog Number: USNM 18069
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1891
Locality: Lone Pine, Inyo, California, United States, North America
  • Paralectotype: Klauber, L. M. 1947. Bull. Zool. Soc. San Diego. 22: 27.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 206.; Syntype: Klauber, L. M. 1947. Bull. Zool. Soc. San Diego. 22: 27.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 206.
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Paralectotype; Syntype for Pituophis catenifer deserticola
Catalog Number: USNM 18068
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1891
Locality: Haway Meadows, 10 mi S of Owens Lake, Inyo, California, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 1143 to 1143
  • Paralectotype: Klauber, L. M. 1947. Bull. Zool. Soc. San Diego. 22: 27.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 206.; Syntype: Klauber, L. M. 1947. Bull. Zool. Soc. San Diego. 22: 27.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 206.
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Paralectotype; Syntype for Pituophis catenifer deserticola
Catalog Number: USNM 18066
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1891
Locality: Panamint Mountains, Surprise Canyon, Inyo, California, United States, North America
  • Paralectotype: Klauber, L. M. 1947. Bull. Zool. Soc. San Diego. 22: 27.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 206.; Syntype: Klauber, L. M. 1947. Bull. Zool. Soc. San Diego. 22: 27.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 206.
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Paralectotype; Syntype for Pituophis catenifer deserticola
Catalog Number: USNM 18065
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1891
Locality: Panamint Mountains, Jackass Spring, Inyo, California, United States, North America
  • Paralectotype: Klauber, L. M. 1947. Bull. Zool. Soc. San Diego. 22: 27.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 206.; Syntype: Klauber, L. M. 1947. Bull. Zool. Soc. San Diego. 22: 27.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 206.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

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Wikipedia

Pituophis catenifer deserticola

Pituophis catenifer deserticola, commonly known as the Great Basin gopher snake, is a subspecies of nonvenomous colubrid endemic to the western part of the United States and adjacent southwestern Canada.[1]

Geographic range[edit]

This serpent can be found in the United States in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, and in Canada in British Columbia.[1]

Description[edit]

Adults of P. c. deserticola are usually about 4.5 feet (137 cm) in total length. The maximum recorded total length is 5.75 feet (175 cm).[2]

The Great Basin gopher snake has dorsal spots that are dark brown or black, and they are connected to each other by very narrow lines that run along each side of the anterior part of the body. On each side of the neck there usually is a dark longitudinal stripe that is surrounded by some lighter coloring, which eventually breaks up towards the posterior end of the snake and turns into dashes or small spots. The body scales are keeled, and the head has a pointed shape. The underbelly has a creamy color with small, dark, irregular blotches. There is some discrepancy over their average lifespan, the Utah Hogle Zoo reports the average lifespan is 7 years,[3] while others report that the average lifespan for the Great Basin gopher snake as being 12–15 years with the record age being 33 years and 10 months.[4]

Scutellation in Great Basins[5]
ScutellationUsual # of scales
Midbody29-35
Ventrals214-259
Caudals54-71, divided
Analentire
Prefrontal scalesusually 4
Supralabials8-10
Infralabials9-15
Preoculars1-2
Postoculars2-6

Habitat[edit]

The Great Basin gopher snake can be found throughout the western United States in grasslands, woodlands, deserts, coastal sage scrub, agriculture land, and riparian areas.[6]

Behavior[edit]

The Great Basin gopher snake is a great climber, swimmer, and burrower. It is one of the most commonly found snakes when people are hiking or driving on the road. They are easily seen in spring when the male snakes are out and about trying to find a mate. The hatchlings are easily found in late August and September when they emerge from their eggs. Like most animals, Great Basin gopher snakes are not dangerous unless provoked. When defending themselves from predators, they will elevate and inflate the body, and flatten the head into a triangular shape. Loud hissing noises will ensue, along with quick shaking of the tail, mimicking the sound of a deadly rattlesnake. Unlike a rattlesnake, however, the Great Basin gopher snake is nonvenomous.[6]

Diet[edit]

The Great Basin gopher snake is carnivorous, and it preys upon a variety of organisms, including insects, lizards, birds and their eggs, and small mammals (pocket gophers).[4]

Reproduction[edit]

Subspecies of gopher snakes lay their eggs from June to August, and the Great Basin gopher snake is no exception. After the sexually mature snakes mate in spring, the females usually lay 3-24 eggs, with 7 eggs being the average. It usually takes the eggs 2 to 2.5 months to hatch. When the young emerge, they are usually in the range of 30–46 cm (12–18 in) in total length.[3]

Scientific study[edit]

The following link (BJLS) is a study done on gopher snakes (P. catenifer) about their feeding ecology. The study focuses on the contents of the stomachs of more than 2,600 specimens and looks at the most commonly eaten prey.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "California Herps". Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
  2. ^ Schmidt, K.P., and D.D. Davis. 1941. Field Book of Snakes of the United States and Canada. G.P. Putnam's Sons. New York. 365 pp. (Pituophis catenifer deserticola, pp. 165-166 + Figure 46. on p. 161.)
  3. ^ a b "Utah's Hogle Zoo". Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  4. ^ a b Shannon Hiatt. "General Care of the Baja California gopher, Pacific gopher, and Great Basin gopher snakes". The Pituophis Page. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  5. ^ "World Pituophis Web Page". Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
  6. ^ a b "Zipcode Zoo". Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  7. ^ "Biological Journal of the Linnean Society". Retrieved 2009-10-05. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Stejneger, L. 1893. Annotated List of the Reptiles and Batrachians Collected by the Death Valley Expedition in 1891, with Descriptions of New Species. North American Fauna (7): 159-228. ("Pituophis catenifer deserticola, subsp. nov.", pp. 206–208.)
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: See taxonomic comments for P. catenifer.

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