Bull Snake

A snake is curled on pavement

The bull snake is one of six reptile species and the largest species found in the park.



Scientific Name

Pituophis catenifer sayi


  • A subspecies of the gopher snake, is Yellowstone's largest reptile, ranging from 50 to 72 inches long.
  • Yellowish with a series of black, brown, or reddish-brown blotches down the back; the darkest, most contrasting colors are near the head and tail; blotches are shaped as rings around the tail.
  • Head resembles a turtle's in shape, with a protruding scale at the tip of the snout and a dark band extending from the top of the head through the eye to the lower jaw.

  • In Yellowstone, found at lower elevations, drier, warmer climates, and open areas such as near Mammoth.

  • Lives in burrows and eats small rodents—behavior that gave the gopher snake its name.
  • Often mistaken for a rattlesnake because of its appearance and its defensive behavior: when disturbed it will coil up, hiss loudly, and vibrate its tail against the ground, producing a rattling sound.

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