• A bull elk bugles in Yellowstone National Park

    Yellowstone

    National Park ID,MT,WY

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Bull snake

bull snake
Bull snake
NPS/Peaco
 
Scientific name: Pituophis catenifer sayi

Identification

  • 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.
Habitat

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

  • 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.

Did You Know?

Seventh Cavalry Ensignia Pin.

Prior to the establishment of the National Park Service, the U.S. Army protected Yellowstone between 1886 and 1918. Fort Yellowstone was established at Mammoth Hot Springs for that purpose.