Do Gopher Snakes Have Teeth?

If you’re planning to keep one as a pet, it’s normal to ask if Gopher Snakes have teeth. These constrictors can seem scary at first, but you’ll see they’re not once you know more about them!

Gopher Snakes have exciting characteristics. They’re powerful and large, with an average length of 4 feet. They have cream-colored scales with brown blotches all over and can thrive in different habitats, including deserts and forests.

In this article, I share why many snake owners choose this species and how to best care for them!

Are Gopher Snakes a Good Beginner’s Pet?

Gopher Snakes make excellent pets for first-time snake owners! They’re non-venomous and only aggressive when they feel a real threat. They also do well in captivity and need a fuss-free enclosure. 

Do Gopher Snakes Have Teeth?

Fearing that your pet snake might bite you is pretty normal – we’ve all been there! A snake bite can be painful and leave an ugly scar. The last thing any pet owner wants is their snake to act aggressively towards them.

Captive-bred Gopher Snakes aren’t aggressive, but it will be extremely painful if yours bites you. Luckily, Gopher Snakes don’t have fangs, but they clamp down hard and can leave a wound. 

If your Gopher bites you, you may experience some swelling in the area. The best care you can take is to clean your wound with antibacterial soap and water. 

Read more about Large Snakes: Are Gopher Snakes Good Pets?

Gopher Snake Diet

Gopher Snakes are constrictors, so they don’t need any teeth to catch their prey. They simply strike and squeeze.

Gopher Snakes catch birds, lizards, and small mammals in the wild. They roam around in areas where prey is easy to find, and if they don’t have anything to eat for a while, they’ll move to another hunting ground. You can encounter Gophers in a burrow one day and the next in a tree. 

Gopher Snakes are easy to feed when they’re kept as pets. As their name suggests, Gopher Snakes like to eat gophers, aka rodents. You should feed your snake weekly and only offer thawed rats or mice.

When your snake is still a hatchling, you should offer them a defrosted pinky mouse once a week. As your snake grows, their food should too. Depending on your snake’s size, you can feed them a large or jumbo-sized rat or mouse once every two weeks. 

Note: Never feed live prey to your pet snake. This will make them aggressive and increase the chances of them striking you. 

 How do I identify a gopher snake

Signs That Your Gopher Snake Will Bite You

Gopher Snakes aren’t known for striking their owners, but if you upset them, they feel irritated or think you’re a threat for some reason, they will.

Before your Gopher Snake strikes, they’ll give you the warning to back off. If you know these signs, the chances of ever being bitten are rare. Give your snake some space if you notice any of these:

  • Your Gopher Snake flattens their head
  • Your Gopher Snake hisses loudly
  • Your Gopher Snake rapidly shakes their tail

If you’ve ever seen a Rattlesnake, you’ll notice that your Gopher imitates their behavior. This is the main reason why some people misidentify Gopher Snakes as Rattlesnakes in the wild. 

Reasons To Like Gopher Snakes

Gopher Snakes are a loved species. Here are the top 4 reasons why people prefer them above other species:

Low-Risk: Because they don’t have teeth and are non-venomous, they’re not as much of a risk to keep. 

Size: If you prefer bigger snakes, a Gopher might be perfect for you! They have a slender yet muscular build, and their length is ideal for handling. Many people who like big snakes choose Boa constrictors but end up with regret because they can’t handle their snake once they reach full size. Gopher Snakes are easy to handle even when they’re outgrown. 

Warning Signs: Another reason why snake owners prefer Gopher Snakes is because of their clear warning signs. If you get to know your Gopher, you’ll see their urge to strike you from a mile away! Some other snake species have indistinguishable warning signs, and their owners are bitten more often. 

Easy Care: Gopher Snakes are relatively easy to care for. They need a simple enclosure to thrive, and you only need to feed them once every week or two weeks. 

In Summary

Gopher Snakes don’t have teeth, which is already a plus point for most snake owners! Besides this, they have a docile temperament and are easy to care for. If you like big snakes, but don’t have the means to care for a large species like Boas, then a Gopher Snake is the perfect middle. If you take good care of your Gopher, it’s unlikely that they’ll bite you, but you should learn their warning signs and steer clear if they show any. 

I hope you found this article helpful in deciding if a Gopher Snake is the pet you’d like. They have a reputation for their likeability, so you should definitely consider this species if a constrictor is what you have in mind! If you have any more questions about Gophers, ask them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you.

Are Gopher Snakes aggressive?

Typically, Gopher Snakes aren't aggressive, but they might attack and inflict a painful bite if they feel threatened.

How do I identify a Gopher Snake?

Gopher Snakes can be around 4 feet long, and you can identify one by spotting light or dark brown splotches on their backs. Sometimes the blotches are reddish. Gopher Snakes are cream, yellow or tan.

Can a Gopher Snake eat a small dog?

Gopher Snakes can only eat prey that's easily digested by their bodies, like lizards, mice, and frogs. They might strike at your small dog if they feel threatened, but it's unlikely that they will eat it.

What is the difference between a Bull Snake and a Gopher Snake?

Bull Snakes are a subspecies in the Gopher Snake family. These snakes are typically called Bull Snakes in eastern New Mexico, the Great Plains, and Midwestern states. Bull Snakes have a narrow head and round pupils.

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