Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

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orphia
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Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by orphia » July 30th, 2014, 1:55 pm

I've owned a male gopher snake for some years and his subspecies is always coming under question. He was sold to me as Sonoran; someone else told me Pacific; today I was told he was definitely San Diego. According to the identification key, he could be either Sonoran or Pacific but I dunno about annectans. Midbody scale rows fall into the range of all three, but I seem to remember that the blotch count was much lower (it's been a while since I counted them from a shed skin).

So I figured I'd ask here, where people see them in their home ranges - what is he? (I know that because he's a pet animal he could be any kind of mutt, and that's a good answer too, but if someone can look at him and go "definitely annectans, look at those sides" I'd be happy.)

From above:

Image
Armstrong by Julian Rossi, on Flickr

Rostral:

Image
Armstrong by Julian Rossi, on Flickr

Body shot:

Image
Armstrong by Julian Rossi, on Flickr

Second body shot, showing more of the tail:

Image
Armstrong by Julian Rossi, on Flickr

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SurfinHerp
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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by SurfinHerp » July 30th, 2014, 9:03 pm

He doesn't look very Sonoran to me Julian. He doesn't seem 100% San Diego either.

Actually appears quite similar to a Great Basin I found about 4 years ago.

I'd guess he's either a Great Basin, or perhaps a mixed GB/SD.

Jeff

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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by PNWHerper » July 31st, 2014, 7:31 am

Looks like Pacific & San Diego intergrade. Compare it to photos on Californiaherps. The head/neck looks pretty typical for annectans. The majority of the blotches match a P. c. catenifer. I unfortunately see a lot of "Sonorans" and "Bullsnakes" solid that are clearly not either of those. This one looks like a mix of two west coast subspecies though.

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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by justinm » July 31st, 2014, 10:48 am

To me it looks like a really pretty sayi. I just caught one two days ago at the neighbors house, and have fresh pics of it.

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PNWHerper
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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by PNWHerper » July 31st, 2014, 12:01 pm

This kinda looks similar to your snake: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =6&t=17572

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nightdriver
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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by nightdriver » July 31st, 2014, 7:50 pm

I would be surprised if this snake came from outside the range of a San Diego based on the "yellow-golden" coloration. I've found snakes nearly identical to this one in coastal LA County. That being said, it wouldn't surprise me if it came from an area where Great Basin or pacific(least familiar with these) genes might fall into the mix. I see no Sonoran in the snake at all.

Nightdriver

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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by herpseeker1978 » July 31st, 2014, 9:22 pm

This is the yellowest Sonoran Gopher I have found:
Image
Image

Josh

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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by orphia » August 1st, 2014, 4:03 pm

Thanks, all. I appreciate the ID help because, of course, one wants to know what one keeps! He is probably an intergrade. Based on the pictures I'm seeing, I can't see him being a pure San Diego (the body blotches look completely off), but who knows.

As for the yellow base colour, the pictures are not reflecting his natural colour under sunlight. He isn't neon yellow. :) He is about the same as Josh's Sonoran, but cleaner, especially around the head and neck. Unfortunately he's in shed or I would provide better pictures in natural light showing the full body, but I think we can go with "mutt" for this ID. I'm a little disappointed, as the vendor sold him as a straight Sonoran, and I probably wouldn't've purchased him knowing he wasn't.

Still, he's a great animal and it's a privilege to own him.

orphia
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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by orphia » August 1st, 2014, 4:17 pm

One last picture of him two years ago, in more natural light.

Image
Armstrong by Julian Rossi, on Flickr

He's a good-lookin' snake!

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regalringneck
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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by regalringneck » August 3rd, 2014, 8:44 pm

hi, ive seen hundreds of both, that is all coastal to my eye, LA & north has alot of straw pits, i seem to see a busier pattern on a generally olive/brown furthur south w/ some straw screamers here & there, but still a busier blotch pattern. No doubt a beautiful snake you've got there.

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Nature Nate
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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by Nature Nate » August 4th, 2014, 3:15 pm

based on the countless SD individuals I've seen and the limited experience I have with the other ssp. I would say that he's undoubtedly mostly SD influenced but, as it has been said, not likely a purebred. The first half could pass as an SD but the back half is more speckled like the Sonoran. I would also expect to see a thicker band across the eyes if it was a Pacific.

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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by BillMcGighan » August 4th, 2014, 4:21 pm

When any animal comes from a delicup, all bets are off on the purity of the species, even genus.

A friend showed me a "pit" he acquired. It was magnificent yellow and large. It ate full grown rats.

It looked like a "catenifer sayi" with a rounded rostral. Its blotches were more square than the should be.


He said it was a Bull/Yellow Rat cross.

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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by hellihooks » August 4th, 2014, 4:36 pm

I gotta go with a SD/Pac X, probably from around San Luis Obispo. Inland from there I have a naturally occurring 3-way spot... Pac/SD/GB (Hansen of Herp Review agrees it's a 3-way) Guess what a X tween all three look like???? a Sonoran... :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by Kelly Mc » August 5th, 2014, 8:04 am

I was with great basin but then everything went hazy! :lol:

Oh my Bill, the Bull/Yellow Rat thing made me throw up in my mouth a little. Heehee jk but kinda

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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by hellihooks » August 5th, 2014, 5:51 pm

here's a Pacific from Kern Co...
Image
And from just a few miles away...
Image

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by Kelly Mc » August 5th, 2014, 9:09 pm

Heres my Sonoran guy Kyle. He likes light. And mice :D


Image



edit - resized

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by Kelly Mc » August 6th, 2014, 9:02 am

I picked that picture because it shows how Kyle likes to do his mice,stretching them out rubber band style for reverse leverage. I love Kyle. He seems to drink deeply from the goblet of life.

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Re: Pituophis experts, ID assistance?

Post by AndyO'Connor » August 6th, 2014, 1:32 pm

I'd agree with mostly San Diego, maybe some pacific indluence and you wouldn't have to twist my arm to make me believe maybe some Sonoran. I don't see anything GB about it, but at the end of the day, the comments about all bets being off if it's captive bred are spot on.

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