A quick search of “man finds bull snake…” or “woman finds bull snake…” will fill your afternoon for some interesting reading! Bull snakes have been found in bathtubs, couches, and dangling from a pipe. These are not your garden-hose thin garter snakes these are hefty snakes that can reach 8 feet and almost 10 pounds! That is a big snake to find in your couch! But how big was the largest bull snake ever found? Let’s find out.
What is a Bull Snake?
Bull snakes are large, heavy-bodied snakes that live in the United States. Sometimes called a gopher snake (they’re actually a subspecies of gopher snakes) they are some of the largest snakes found in America. An average bull snake is 4-6 feet in length but the longest ones are 8 feet or more. Bull snakes have a base color of tan or cream with dark brown markings along the back. The tail looks like it has brown stripes near the end.
Bull snakes are nonvenomous so they are not harmful to humans but they are feisty and will act like a rattlesnake by rising up and making rattle noises with their tail. They also make a unique grunting noise when they are bothered. Bull snakes can bite but their bites are not venomous to humans.
Where do Bullsnakes Live?
Bull snakes are a common snake in the western US. They can be found in, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Montana, New Mexico, Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. They are also found as far north as Canada and south as Mexico. Bull snakes live in burrows, either digging their own or taking over another animal’s burrow. They like grasslands, prairies, woodlands, and forests (and sometimes people’s bathtubs!).
How Big is an Average Bull Snake?
Bull snakes are heavy-bodied snakes and can average between 4 to 6 feet in length and weigh 2 ½ -3 ½ pounds. Yet as you’ll soon see, they can grow much larger!
How Big Was the Largest Bull Snake Ever Found?
According to the Guinness World Records, the largest bull snake ever found was 8.5 feet (2.6m)! The standard height for a residential bedroom is 8ft tall, this snake would need to crouch down to fit.
For a visual of what an especially long bull snake can look like, check out this post from the Coon Rapids Police Department in Minnesota.
Here are Stories About Some of the Largest Bull Snakes Ever Found:
1) “Giant bullsnake found in Minnesota home’s bathtub, officials say”: A family in Hastings, MN was woken up when their son started screaming at 4 in the morning. He went to the bathroom and found an enormous snake in their bathtub! A quick call to the police brought an officer out who was able to catch it, put it in a pillowcase, and release it in a wooded area nearby. This snake was 6 feet long, so pretty long compared to the average. Makes for an unnerving middle-of-the-night bathroom break!
2) “Iowa repairman welcomed to job site by large snakes”: A repairman from central Iowa showed up to look at a faulty well. When he pulled up a long pipe used in the well there were 8 – 9 bull snakes coiled around the pipe! Big ones too! They were thought to have gotten in through an opening that, the repairman made sure to seal when completing the repair.
3) “93-year-old woman finds giant writhing snake in her yard and cops send “the New Guy”: A woman in Haltom, Texas found a giant snake in her backyard and called the police for assistance. Because venomous snakes do live in this area of Texas she did the right thing. It turns out this large snake was not a rattlesnake but a very large bull snake. The “rookie cop” sent to take care of it did a fine job of catching it and releasing it back into the wild. He took a few humorous Facebook posts about the incident in stride.
Are Bull Snakes Venomous?
Bull snakes are not venomous as they do not have fangs or produce venom. However, they do still have teeth and while they are not harmful to humans, their bite can still inflict pain. Although these contrictors are known for their less-than-pleasant temperament, they will only be aggressive if provoked.
Are Bull Snakes Dangerous?
Bull snakes can bite, and they do. They are aggressive snakes that will not let you just pick them up and move them. If they are threatened they will imitate a rattlesnake, coil up, raise their head and body, hiss and grunt (well, rattlesnakes don’t grunt, that is their own thing), rattle their tail against dirt, and strike. If they do bite it will definitely hurt, but it won’t be like getting a venomous rattlesnake bite.
What About the Snake Found in a Couch?
There was a recent story of “Man finds 7-foot-long snake in his couch” from San Diego, California. In April of 2022, Alex Trejo got a call at his Rattlesnake Removal business about a man finding a large snake in his couch cushions. Sure enough, when Alex arrived at the house he tossed back a cushion to find a large bodied snake curled up inside. It was not a bull snake but was identified as a Vietnamese blue beauty rat snake. These snakes are not native to California, they are actually from Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, so it is likely this was an escaped pet. Alex was able to remove the snake although it did not want to leave its cozy couch position.
What Should You do if You Find a Bull Dnake?
If you find a bull snake in your bathtub or dangling from your curtains, you can call the non-emergency line for your local police department or call animal control. They will come out and assist in capturing and relocating the snake. Many people kill bull snakes unnecessarily because they mistake them for rattlesnakes. Bull snakes are actually a beneficial species because they help control the rodent population.
If you find a bull snake on a trail, or in the wild, you should leave it be and back away slowly. While some snakes will slither away quickly, the bold bull snake might hold its ground and perform its rattlesnake impression, just to show off. Backing away slowly should send the message that you mean no harm and don’t want to cause trouble. Do not try to pick up a wild bull snake, even if you think you have found the record-breaking largest bull snake ever!
Other Record-Breaking Snakes
The largest hognose snake ever recorded is a fascinating subject for anyone interested in wildlife. This non-venomous species, also known as the eastern hognose snake, can grow up to 4 feet in length and weighs around 2 pounds on average. However, one particular individual stands out as the largest of its kind.
The biggest hognose snake on record was found in southern Minnesota back in 1970. It measured an impressive 57 inches or nearly five feet long! This incredible specimen weighed just over three pounds and had a girth of eight inches at its widest point.
Hognose snakes are renowned for their unique defense mechanism when confronted by predators. They will flatten their necks like cobras and hiss loudly before playing dead by rolling onto their backs with their mouths open and tongues hanging out – hence why they’re often called “puff adders.”
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Christopher Joe Brown/Shutterstock.com
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