Gopher snake searching cliff swallow nests in East Central Utah

Nicholas J. Czaplewski, Kent S. Smith, John Johnson, Crystal Dockery, Brandon Mason, Ian D. Browne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report details of a serendipitous encounter in July 2010 with a gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer) hunting in the mud nests of Cliff Swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota). The swallow nests occurred beneath a deeply overhung sandstone cliff ledge in a box canyon of Ferron Creek in the shale deserts near Ferren, Emery County, Utah. The inaccessibility of the nests and the movement of the snake to and through them attest to both the extraordinary climbing ability of the gopher snake and the nest site selection and nest construction ability of the swallows.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-99
Number of pages4
JournalWestern North American Naturalist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2012


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