The Texas Bullsnake is one of the most commonly found snakes in Texas. It is techincally a sub-variety of the Gopher Snake, but the differences are so minute that only an expert can tell the difference with close observation. Because of this, they are commonly mistaken for Gopher Snakes. They found in most of the southern part of the US but their range extends through out all of the United States and northern Mexico.
One of the characteristic that make the Bullsnake so interesting is the way it defends itself when it feel threatened. It inhales air filling its body up like a baloon and then forcfully exhales the air. The effect of this, is a sound that sounds nealry identical of that of a Rattlesnake. This, combine with its coloration and pattern has caused the Bullsnake to be often mistaken as a Rattlesnake, which is unfortunate. This behavior has led to the Bullsnake being labeled as a "Rattlesnake Mimic", but most herpatologist disagree with this label. While this behavior might seem like a positive, it most oftenly results in the benificial Bullsnake being misidentified as the venomous Rattlessnake and being killed as a result of it.
The Bull Snake is a constrictor and non-venomous. It has a bad temper and when it feel threatened and it will assume a could strike position as you see in the above picture. Even though it is non-venomous, it will strike aggressively if you get close to it. While is possesses no venom, any snake bite can be hazordoues to you helath as a result of the powerful bacteria in their mouth. So head the warning and stay back.
The Bullsnake is an extremly benficial part of the natural order of the environment because it preys on small rodents, such as rats and mic. Without reptiles like the Bullsnake, the rodent population would explode to plegue proportions. It is important to leanr the difference between the Bullsnake and the Rattlesnake so you are not fooled when you encounter one.
Hear him HISS!
For more information about the Texas Bullsnake and other snakes, check out the following books:
Texas Snakes: A Field Guide
Herping Texas: The Quest for Reptiles and Amphibians
The Book of Snakes: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from around the World