Coming from the order of Squamata, “possessing a body covered with large, imbricate horny scales,” the bull snake is a frequently seen reptile of Utah and is one of largest native snakes of North America. In fact, bull snakes have been recorded to exceed lengths of 8 feet.
Known to be docile, and it normally allows itself to be held by people, bull snakes can still act in a defensive manner and can deliver a very painful, blood-drawing bite if acted upon irresponsibly. Rest assured that bull snakes are non-venomous, and if you don’t want to be bitten, you should avoid when you see them rear or ball up in an attempt to look bigger, display loud hissing, attempt lunging or a hasty retreat. If any of the following signals are noticed, leave it alone and allow it to retreat to its preferred safe location.
Usually eating anything that can fit into its mouth, their diet mainly consists of mice, rats, rabbits, birds, pocket gophers, ground squirrels, lizards, frogs and sometimes bird eggs. Another interesting fact, unlike the rattler’s way of hunting, bull snakes use a technique similar to pythons where they squeeze and tighten itself around its prey eventually suffocating it to death.
A single female bull snake can lay up to 12 to 22 eggs, and she will lay them in an abandoned burrow or one she’s dug herself, leaving them to hatch and raise themselves. Bull snakes can be found in sandy areas, prairies, open forests, fields and brush.
Addie T. Lindsay, 17, is an accomplished writer and a photographer of wildlife creatures big and small. She can be contacted at CritterChatter@live.com.