Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Bullsnake

The Bullsnake - Pituophis catenifer sayi


The Bullsnake

The bullsnake is among the largest snakes in the North Americas. It is one word, by the way -bullsnake, and not "bull snake." Yes, I was rather confused about that too.

Though typically not as long as an indigo snake, and not as large in diameter as some rattlesnakes, the bullsnake is a totally non venomous constrictor that can be found from Northern Mexico all the way up into Southern Canada, but mostly in the central areas of the Americas, and not the coastal extremities.

The bullsnakes of this world are definitely what should be thought of as good snakes to have around because of their wonderful proclivity towards culling the herds of rats and mice. Sadly, bullsnakes are often mistaken for rattlesnakes due to their colouration.

The Bullsnake


Bullsnakes Do NOT Make Good Pets.

Though the bullsnake is a non venomous constrictor like king snakes and indigo snakes, the bullsnake has a very different personality. Bullsnakes are not docile and mild mannered like indigo and king snakes are - the facts are that bullsnakes are very defensive, and absolutely do not wish to be messed with by us two legged spine having sob's. Got it?

Really, the bullsnake's colouration and it's similarity to that of the rattlesnake should probably serve to protect the bullsnake's interest of not being bothered with. The problem, at times, is that hunters of the rattlesnake sometimes make mistakes.

The Gopher Snake -Pituophis catenifer - The Bullsnake Is A Sub Species Of This Snake.


Defensive Striking

The bullsnake looks a lot like a rattlenake, and is also about as aggressive as one. When feeling threatened by something large such as a human, the bullsnake will often proceed to assume the striking position exactly like a venomous pit viper, but the difference here is the bullsnake will not usually bite anyone - it will instead use it's blunt nose and strike, pounding it's nose into you.

That is pretty freaking cool, if you ask me, and it is also very preferable to being bitten by a large slithering reptile.
Well played, bullsnake - well played.

Deadly In The Desert - The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake - NOT A Bullsnake.


The Bullsnake Is One Heck Of An Actor.

Besides looking like a Western Diamondback rattlesnake, and the propensity towards imitating the striking behaviour of such, the bullsnake takes the performance quite a lot further still. Bullsnakes can also imitate and flatter the rattlesnakes they sometimes eat by flattening out their heads to make them more triangular in appearance, so as to look more like the deadly pit viper.

They'll also feign a rattle by vigorously shaking the tip of their tails in leaves or debris whilst simultaneously exhaling large volumes (for a snake) of air through it's bisected glottis, which flaps back and forth for an Oscar worthy rattle effect of it's own.

Baby Bullsnakes - Aren't They Cute?


Bullsnakes And Farm Animals.

Bullsnakes, as I've hopefully established, are very interesting critters that you really shouldn't kill. While most snakes do have the same kinds of diet, and their diets almost always include rats and mice, the bullsnakes, being larger snakes, also eat some things that maybe we'd prefer them not to eat. Some folks raise rabbits, but here at the Shaw farm we raise chickens.

It is always a sad day when one of the Shaw chickens is eaten by a snake. It typically costs us one twenty gauge shotgun shell.

There are other alternatives, however, and I'd like to take a moment to recommend any of these preventive snake encounter products. I'm a huge believer that it is better to be proactive in regards to undesirable situations than it is to find yourself IN an undesirable situation - and plainly, most persons tend to think of any snake situation as undesirable. This is no snake oil, mind you, but rather - proven snake repellents. All that is required is a purchase and familiarizing yourself with the product, and then maintaining your snake free zone with said product.

So, I propose that rather than wind up killing a very non lethal, non venomous bullsnake by thinking it a rattlesnake, it is very preferable to avoid snake situations, and let the snakes one and all go about with their rat killing, and the bullsnakes with their rattlesnake Oscar worthy impersonations, and their sometimes rattlesnake eating as well.


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