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Bull Snake

The Bull Snake is a Snake to Avoid

A Bull Snake is not venomous but it is also not a snake you want to approach. The Bull Snake is the largest snake in the United States with an average length of five feet and recorded lengths up to eight feet. The snake is very powerful and even though it won’t kill you, a bite from a Bull Snake is going to be very painful and can cause tissue damage. If threatened, the Bull Snake hisses and assumes a defensive s-curve posture.

The Bull Snake is found throughout the Central United States from its southern to northern reaches even into Canada. The snake is tan in color with a yellowish hue and covered with brown splotches. Its stomach is a light shade of yellow with black spots. The Bull Snake has keeled scales, meaning that the scales have a ridge in the middle that make the snake rough to the touch.

Bull snakes like to live in the prairie and are often found in wheat fields. They eat all types of nuisance small mammals, such as mice, gophers, rats, squirrels, prairie dogs, rabbits and large birds that nest on the ground. A Bull Snake is a constrictor, killing its prey by tightening its coils until it dies of lack of oxygen. They eat their prey whole, usually head first.

A Bull Snake likes to hunt when it is cool in the early morning and late afternoon. It waits till night during exceptionally hot summer weather. Bull snakes take shelter in burrows made by animals or in cavities under dead trees. Because they are cold-blooded, like all reptiles, they spend a considerable amount of time in the sun warming themselves. These snakes hibernate during the winter months in dens with other snakes.

Mating for the Bull Snake takes place immediately after waking up from hibernation. The females of this species lay eggs which take approximately ten weeks to hatch. Baby snakes are a foot to eighteen inches long. They are developed enough at birth to be able to feed themselves by killing small mice.

Because of their tremendous size, a Bull Snake has very few predators, the main two being skunks and raptors. When threatened, they hiss and vibrate their tails. They will lunge at anything they find threatening. They received the name Bull Snake because when threatened they also make a sound that sounds like a bull snorting. They are often mistaken for rattlesnakes because their tail vibrations can sound like a rattle.

The Bull Snake is one of the most common Texas Snakes. They move slowly and are often killed on the highway because of their inability to get out of the way of cars. Bull Snakes do a lot of good for people by keeping rodent populations in check.




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