Gopher Snake Temperament: Here’s What To Expect!

The idea of keeping one as a pet is much more comforting when you know what a Gopher Snake’s temperament is like. Being prepared in this category will help you better care for your snake!

Reptiles are known for not showing much affection towards humans, but if you keep a captive-bred one as a pet, you can form a bond with them. Each snake has their own temperament and, with that, a unique personality.

In this article, I cover what a Gopher Snakes’ temperament is like and what you can do to ensure that you always see your pet’s best side!

Gopher Snake Temperament: What To Expect

Gopher Snakes can be aggressive when needed, and this behavior has given them a bad reputation. Typically, they aren’t. 

Captive-bred snakes are great for first-time reptile owners, and with good care, you’ll easily handle yours.

Gopher Snakes are docile when you look after them, but they might strike at you and bite if they think you’re a threat.

How To Handle Your Gopher Snake

Like other reptiles, Gopher Snakes don’t like when they’re handled. Still, your captive-bred snake will tolerate this.

You need to be gentle when you pick your Gopher up. Always do this from below and support their body as much as possible without restricting free movement.

If you frequently handle your Gopher Snake, they’ll become tamer, but don’t pick them up more than once a day. 

Encountering Wild Gopher Snakes

Gopher Snakes are widespread, and humans often encounter them in the wild. If you see one while on a hike or bike path, you should just leave them alone.

Many Gophers are hurt during these encounters because humans often mistake them for Rattlesnakes. They also have a curled defensive position like a Pit Viper. If you stay out of their path, I can almost guarantee that they’ll slither the other way. 

If a Gopher Snake seems ready to strike you, stay calm and slowly back away while keeping eye contact with the snake. Once you’re a reasonable distance from them, turn around and run while making loud noises. 

Factors That Influence The Temperament Of A Gopher Snake

The Weather

When it’s cold and rainy outside, you probably get irritated with the idea of getting up and ready for work. Strangely enough, reptiles aren’t much different!

On cold days your Gopher will need more time basking in the morning sun. Taking this opportunity away from them can leave them feeling annoyed. The same is true about keeping them in the sun too long when experiencing a hot day. 

Their Enclosure

You need to create an enclosure for your Gopher Snake that they enjoy living in. While captive-bred snakes have a more docile temperament than wild-caught ones, they still need an ideal environment to thrive. 

It might not be possible to recreate their natural habitat to a tee, but if you keep some simple things like decor, their basking spot, the enclosure temperature, and humidity to their liking, your snake will be happier!

Their Food

Hungry snakes aren’t nice to handle, and if you look like a snack, there’s a big chance your Gopher will strike. You should ensure that your pet gets a nutritious diet and that you feed them as often as needed. 

Learn more about Food Or Foe: Do Bearded Dragons Eat Scorpions?

Your Actions

The way you care for, treat, handle, feed, and approach your snake greatly influences their temperament. 

Snakes are good at sensing danger, and if you approach them with anything but a loving attitude, they won’t be affectionate towards you.

 gopher snake temperament

How To Create A Favorable Environment For Your Gopher Snake

Setting up an enclosure that your Gopher Snake feels comfortable in and handling them with the right attitude can positively influence the way they see you and their general temperament when you’re around. Here are some tips:

Mimic Their Natural Habitat

While planning your Gopher Snake environment, you should keep their natural habitat in mind. Creating a space that mimics the living conditions they’d typically experience in the wild will help them feel more at home.

Your enclosure temperature should be between 70-75°F, while the humidity level should never exceed 60% when measured by a hygrometer. You can add some moisturized substrate for your snake to help them with shedding. 

Gopher Snakes are good at climbing, so adding a branch or two will keep them active. This will definitely also improve their mood!

Handle With Care

If you handle your pet snake with care, they’ll have a docile temperament towards you. Learning how to pick a Gopher up correctly and how often will help you establish a bond with yours.

Never approach your snake with an attitude, but show confidence. Your snake shouldn’t be scared of you and sense that there’s no need to attack. 

Read more about Gopher Snake Lifespan: How Long They Live!

To Sum It Up

Gophers might look scary, but they’re a stellar example of not judging snakes by their scales! Having a pet Gopher Snake will come with its own challenges, but you’ll rarely deal with a snake prone to mood swings. 

If you decide to get a Gopher Snake, ensure that you have everything in place to create comfortable living conditions for them. In return, you’ll get a pet that’s easy to care for and okay with being held!

I hope this article gave you the answer you were looking for. If you have any more questions about Gopher Snakes, ask them in the comments – I’ll be happy to answer!

Are Gopher Snakes aggressive?

Gopher Snakes aren't aggressive, but they will attack if they feel threatened.

How do Gopher Snakes behave?

Gopher Snakes are active during the day, but when the weather's cold, they hide in burrows. They're usually docile snakes, but they'll stand their ground and fight back if they feel threatened.

Are Gopher Snakes intelligent?


Gopher Snakes are intelligent, and they adapt well to different habitats.

Will Gopher Snakes keep Rattlesnakes away?


Gophers and Rattlesnakes compete for territory and food, so if Gophers are around, Rattlesnakes will possibly stay away


Learn more about Do Gopher Snakes Have Teeth?