Beginner-Friendly Snake: Sonoran Gopher Snake Care Guide

Are you a beginner reptile owner looking for a snake breed that’s easy to care for and has a good temperament? Look no further than the Sonoran gopher snake!

This popular pet snake, found in the southwestern United States, is a great choice for those new to snake ownership. With its beautiful coloring and docile nature, you’ll quickly fall in love with your new slithery companion.

In this comprehensive care guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to ensure that your Sonoran gopher snake thrives in its new home. From their habitat needs to feeding and breeding tips, we’ll cover everything you need to know to keep your snake healthy and happy for up to 15 years in captivity.

Whether you’re a seasoned reptile owner looking to add a new species to your collection or a first-time snake owner, this guide will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to care for your Sonoran gopher snake with ease.

Key Takeaways

  • Sonoran gopher snakes make good pets due to their good temperament and ease of care.
  • They need a 40-gallon tank with a warm area kept at 85-88°F and a cool side at 75-80°F.
  • Sonoran gopher snakes should be fed rodents that do not exceed their girth, with juveniles fed weekly and adult snakes fed a medium rodent weekly or a large rodent every two weeks.
  • They are hardy and not prone to specific health conditions, but watch out for blister disease and dehydration.

Description and Habitat

If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly pet snake, the Sonoran gopher snake might be a great choice. This snake has beautiful coloring and a good temperament, making it a popular choice among reptile enthusiasts.

The Sonoran gopher snake gets its name from its primary habitat, the Sonoran desert. These snakes are quite common in the wild and can be found along the southern rim of the Grand Canyon.

Habitat exploration is an important part of a Sonoran gopher snake’s life. They’re smart and very inquisitive, and they love to explore their surroundings. However, they do have natural predators in the wild, such as coyotes, birds of prey, and other snakes.

In captivity, these snakes need at least a 40-gallon tank with a warm area kept at 85 – 88°F and a cool side maintained at 75 – 80°F. They also need around 50 – 60% humidity and a water bowl big enough to soak in and placed on the cool side.

Overall, the care of these snakes is fairly simple and straightforward, making them a great choice for beginner snake owners.

Care and Maintenance

Ensure that your snake’s enclosure has a warm area kept at 85 – 88°F and a cool side at 75 – 80°F, with around 50 – 60% humidity, to provide the optimal habitat for your pet.

To maintain the humidity levels, you can mist the enclosure daily or use a substrate that retains moisture.

Additionally, it’s important to regularly spot-clean the areas where your snake has gone to the toilet to prevent any unpleasant odors or bacteria buildup.

Cleaning tips are essential to keeping your snake healthy. You should change the water in the bowl every day and ensure that it’s big enough for your snake to soak in.

To prevent the growth of bacteria, use a reptile-safe disinfectant to clean the enclosure and all accessories at least once a month.

Lastly, keep in mind that Sonoran gopher snakes are burrowers, so ensure that your enclosure has at least 3 inches of substrate to allow for potential burrowing.

With proper care and maintenance, your pet snake can live a long and healthy life.

Feeding and Breeding

To properly feed and breed your pet Sonoran gopher snake, it’s important to follow some guidelines.

For feeding, make sure to offer rodents that do not exceed the girth of the snake at its widest point. Start juveniles on smaller rodents and feed them weekly, while adult snakes can be fed a medium rodent weekly or a large rodent every two weeks. It’s best to avoid live food and choose frozen rats instead.

Offer food using tweezers to allow them to strike, and don’t handle them for a few hours before feeding or 48 – 72 hours after. If your snake refuses to eat, it could be a sign of illness, so keep an eye out for any other symptoms.

When it comes to breeding, brumation is not necessary for captive Sonoran gopher snakes, but it is necessary for breeding. Gestation takes 65 – 75 days, and eggs should be kept in an incubator.

Make sure to provide your snake with plenty of space and a proper environment to encourage breeding. It’s important to remember that breeding should only be done by experienced breeders as it requires specific knowledge and skills.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your Sonoran gopher snake is healthy and happy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I handle my Sonoran gopher snake?

Handle your Sonoran gopher snake as often as possible to develop a strong bond and tame them. Start with short sessions and slowly increase duration. Use gentle and patient taming techniques to avoid stressing the snake.

Can Sonoran gopher snakes cohabitate with other snake species?

Compatibility concerns arise when considering cohabitation with other snake species. Sonoran gopher snakes have specific habitat requirements and should be housed alone to prevent stress or aggression towards other snakes.

How do I know if my Sonoran gopher snake is male or female?

To determine the gender of your Sonoran gopher snake, you have to look at their length and size of their tail. Males have longer and thicker tails, while females have shorter and thinner tails. Gender identification is important if you plan on breeding your snakes.

Are there any specific illnesses that Sonoran gopher snakes are prone to?

Snake illnesses are generally not a concern for Sonoran gopher snakes as they are hardy creatures. However, watch out for blister disease and dehydration. Proper care, including maintaining the right temperature and humidity levels, and offering clean water can help prevent these illnesses.

Can Sonoran gopher snakes be kept in outdoor enclosures?

While outdoor enclosures may seem like a good idea for Sonoran gopher snakes, it’s important to consider the risks and benefits. Climate considerations and choosing the right location are crucial factors. Indoor enclosures are typically safer and more stable for these snakes.


Congratulations on becoming the proud owner of a Sonoran gopher snake! With the help of this care guide, you’ll be able to provide your new pet with a comfortable and healthy life. Remember, a happy snake is a healthy snake!

To ensure your snake thrives, make sure to create a comfortable habitat that mimics their natural environment. Keep their enclosure clean and provide them with ample hiding spots and climbing opportunities.

When it comes to feeding, offer them a varied diet of mice and rats, and make sure to handle them with care during feeding time.

Breeding Sonoran gopher snakes can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to do your research and make sure you have the proper resources and knowledge beforehand.

As with any animal, it’s important to monitor their health and seek veterinary care if necessary.

Overall, taking care of a Sonoran gopher snake can be a fun and rewarding experience. With the proper care and attention, your snake will thrive in its new home for many years to come. Enjoy the journey and happy snake-keeping!

Alain Grant

I'm Alain, a passionate reptile enthusiast and the creator Reptilebehavior.com. A blog sharing my 15 years of hands-on experience in caring for reptiles, my goal is to provide valuable insights, practical tips, and reliable information to fellow reptile lovers. Contact me at alain@reptilebehavior.com for assistance.

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