The Bull Snake, Pituophis catenifer sayi, is a species of non-venomous colubrid snake found mostly in the central United States. It can be found in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Montana. It ranges as far north as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and as far south as the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
Bull snakes are large snakes that grow up to 7 feet long or more. Males are generally larger than females. They are usually yellow in color, with brown, black or sometimes reddish blotching. There have been many other color variations discovered though, including albinos and white varieties.
Bull snakes eat small mammals, such as rats, mice, rabbits, gophers, prairie dogs, as well as ground nesting birds and the young of other snakes. It is commonly believed that bull snakes will kill rattlesnakes, however it is a possible misconception.
The epithet sayi is in honor of the renowned zoologist Thomas Say.
Photo by LA Dawson