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Canada's Species   Amphibians and reptiles

Gopher Snake

Pituophis melanoleucus

"Imposing" is as good a word as any to describe the gopher snake. While usually mild, it can be extremely aggressive, hissing viciously and lashing out violently. Considering it can reach a length of two and a half meters, this makes for a frightening display (a painful one too if unheeded). Three subspecies are found in Canada: the Bullsnake in the short-grass prairies of Alberta and Saskatchewan (named for the grunting sound it makes when defensive), and the two gopher snakes of British Columbia, the Basin and Pacific gophers. There are many folk myths about the bullsnake, most of which exagerate its own impressiveness, or that of its hybrid offspring produced from a coupling with a rattlesnake (which never happens but in folktales).

Map of Gopher Snake in Canada
Distribution of Gopher Snake in Canada

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