bull snake

(Pituophis catenifer sayi)

Conservation Status
bull snake
Photo by Christa Rittberg
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

 
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S3 - Vulnerable

 
  Minnesota

Special Concern

Species in Greatest Conservation Need

 
           
 
Description
 
 

Bull snake is a large, nonvenomous, typical snake. It is the largest snake found in Minnesota.

The tail is yellow with dark rings. The head is yellow with irregular dark markings.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

37 to 72

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) has a black tail with a tan segmented rattle.

Western fox snake (Mintonius ramspotti) head is reddish-brown and is mostly unmarked.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Sandy prairies, bluff prairies, fields, pastures, savannas, and open woodlands. Sandy soil.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Behavior

 
 

Bull snake is a rattlesnake mimic. When disturbed it will rapidly shake its tail against vegetation or an object to produce a rattle-like sound. It is not poisonous but will strike and deliver a painful bite if cornered.

 
     
 

Lifespan

 
 

10 to 25 years

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Food

 
 

Mostly small mammals, but also birds, bird eggs, frogs, and lizards.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

6, 7, 11, 14, 24, 29, 72, 74.

 
  5/22/2022      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Widespread; common in parts of its range; possibly declining in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa due to habitat loss.

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Reptilia (reptiles)  
  Superorder Lepidosauria  
  Order Squamata (lizards, snakes, and amphisbènes)  
  Suborder Serpentes (snakes)  
  Infraorder Alethinophidia  
  Superfamily Colubroidea  
 

Family

Colubridae (colubrid snakes)  
 

Subfamily

Colubrinae  
 

Genus

Pituophis (pine, gopher, and bullsnakes)  
  Species gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer)  
       
 

This species was formerly classified as Pituophis melanoleucus. In 1995 the Louisiana pine snake was recognized as a subspecies, P. m. ruthveni. Mitrocondrial DNA analysis in 2000 showed that the species should be split into four distinct species; pine snake (P. melanoleucus), gopher snakes and bullsnake (P. catenifer); Louisiana pine snake (P. ruthveni), and cape gopher snake (P. vertebralis).

There are eleven subspecies of Pituophis catenifer currently recognized. Only one, bull snake (Pituophis catenifer sayi), occurs in Minnesota.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Coluber catenifer

Elaphis reticulatus

Pituophis catenifer

Pituophis heermanni

Pituophis melanoleucus sayi

Pituophis wilkesii

Pityophis hæmatois

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

bull snake

bullsnake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

Share your photo of this reptile.

 
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Nancy Falkum

 
 

Yesterday, May 21, 2022 at KWD South Unit, if you look closely you will find the Bull snake. First one I have seen in a couple of years at the dunes.

  bull snake  
           
    bull snake   bull snake  
           
    bull snake      
 

Christa Rittberg

 
 

Photo taken in Wild River State Park.

 
    bull snake      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Pituophis catenifer sayi
Jake Scott
  Pituophis catenifer sayi  
 
About

Bullsnake

 
Pituophis catenifer sayi (Bullsnake)
Kyle
  Pituophis catenifer sayi (Bullsnake)  

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

Share your video of this reptile.

 
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Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.
 
 

 

 
 
 
     
       
       
 
Other Videos
 
  Bullsnake (Pituophis catenifer sayi)
tomb0171
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Feb 7, 2011

* Family: Colubridae,
* Subfamily: Colubrinae,
* Genus: Pituophis,
* Species: P. catenifer,
* Subspecies: P. c. sayi,
* Phylum: Chordata,
* Class: Reptilia,
* Order: Squamata,
* Suborder: Serpentes,
* Type: Reptile,
* Diet: Carnivore,
* Size: Exceed 8 feet (2.4 m) in length,
* Weight: no data,
* Avarege lifespan in the wilds: Estimated at 10 years,
** Pituophis catenifer sayi, is a large non-venomous colubrid snake,It is a subspecies of the Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer).

More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullsnake

 
  Bullsnake Field Observations - Bull Snake
Reptile and Amphibian Video
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Oct 25, 2007

A pair of bullsnakes, aka bull snakes in an Iowa sand prairie.

 
  Bullsnake
Orry Martin
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Mar 29, 2010

My name is Orry Martin: The Texas Snake Hunter. This is the Bullsnake which is a close relative to the Sonoran Gopher snake of Texas. These snakes are famous for their ability to exhale air past a flap in their throats to produce a loud hissing/rattle sound. All of the snakes in this film were released unharmed and were captured strictly for educational purposes and photography. All pictures were taken by me on my Nikon D200.

 
  Colorado Bullsnake (Gopher Snake) in the Wild
Matt Abraxas
 
   
 
About

Published on May 6, 2013

The Colorado Bull Snake, or Gopher Snake, (Pituophis catenifer sayi) is one of the largest snakes indigenous to Northern America. In this short documentary clip, self-proclaimed British Naturalist, Matt Abraxas, reveals the secret life of a male Colorado Bullsnake while it searches for an ellusive mate.

 
  Backroad Reptiles Episode 4: Mess with the Bull, You Get the Horns
backroadreptiles
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 24, 2013

Aaron comes across a large, angry bull snake (pituophis catenifer sayi) crossing a busy backroad. Enjoy the video and follow us on instagram at backroadreptiles!

 

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this reptile.

 
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Be sure to include a location.
 
  Nancy Falkum
5/21/2022

Location: Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Weaver Dunes Unit

 

 

bull snake

 
  Christa Rittberg
6/9/2017

Location: Chisago County, MN

Photo taken in Wild River State Park.

bull snake  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

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