Bull Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus sayi)

The Bullsnake (Pituophis melanoleucus sayi) will rapidly vibrate its tail in dry vegetation to mimic or imitate
the sound of a rattlesnake’s rattle to avoid dangerous encounters with animals and humans alike.

At Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, this remarkable reptile resides in Professor Beardsley’s Research Station
located behind the Greenhouse. The Research Station is open during Zoo special events. Please check our events calendar for details.


Attaining lengths of more than 8 feet, bullsnakes are one of North America's largest and most powerful constrictors, or squeezing snakes. These heavy-bodied yellowish snakes have large, broad "bull" heads with black, brown or reddish-brown blotches extending down the length of their backs. They are known as rough-keeled snakes because their scales jut out, giving them a rough look and feel. Large constrictors like the bullsnake don’t need venom to immobilize their prey – they rely on ample muscle power to "put the squeeze" on a meal.


Plains, prairies and deserts.


The center of North America from Indiana westward to Montana and from the Canadian plains provinces to Northern Mexico.


Rodents, rabbits, birds and eggs.

Life Span: 

Up to 22 years.

Family Life: 

Like nearly all snakes, bullsnakes lay their eggs in loose soil and leave them to hatch unattended. The young are left to fend for themselves. Bullsnakes and other animals that receive little or no parental care are called precocious animals.


Although certain isolated populations may be at risk, bullsnakes are common throughout their range.

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