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Posted by PeeBee on April 01, 2003 at 23:04:42:
In Reply to: Re: Sonoran Gopher? posted by What on April 01, 2003 at 19:35:12:
Based on this photo, and some of the others you posted today I changing my ID from sonoran gopher to Bull snake. The close up confirms it to me. Notice how the rostral (nose) scale looks almost like a pine snakes. A pure sonoran gopher has a triangular rostral. Keep in mind that bulls and sonoran gophers intergrade where their ranges are adjacent, and in those areas traits may overlap. Only recently have text books indicated that sonoran gophers range farther east in TX than originally noted. This used to confuse me, because for years I thought that the "bull snakes" from western TX were mis-identified sonoran gophers or intergrades.
I definitely think it's not a great basin gopher. This snake is heavier bodied than a great basin, and doesn't have any anterior striping that a great basin has. A great basin's head is also more triangular than a bulls. A bull doesn't have as much neck definition.
Don't just take my word for it, check out the subspecies descriptions in the Stebbins field guide, and the photos in Kingsnake.com's Pituophis page photo gallery. Wright & Wright's handbook of snakes is dated, but also has good descriptions of the subspecies. After you've read the subspecies descriptions and seen a lot of specimens you'll have a better eye for differentiating the catenifer (bull/gopher) subspecies.