Sunday, August 7, 2011

Killer Snake

     To avid herpetologists who find so much to admire with such fascinating animals as snakes, it seems silly that so many people are afraid of them.  I found this young bullsnake in the driveway this morning.  Since it seemed quite lively, I decided to "play" with it a while.  Better yet, I thought the encounter might yield a good teaching opportunity.  Often, finding a bullsnake on the road results in the snake putting on quite a display of hissing, striking and even rattling its tail as if it were a rattlesnake.  I usually find that after a few seconds of these aggressive attempts, the snake can be easily picked up and calms down immediately.  All of the dramatic aggression is just a bluff--most of the time.  But this young bullsnake was up for a fight.  I wouldn't normally just let a snake bite me but I thought this might be a good demonstration that non-venomous snakes are really quite harmless, even if they do bite.  As you can see in this short clip, I let this one at me but its really not a big deal.  But, they do have very sharp but small teeth and can easily make little cuts and make you bleed.  The biggest threat is possible infection so washing thoroughly is always a good idea when handling any wild animals, especially if they've happened to take a little bite out of you.  
After having some fun with this youngster, I simply picked it up to admire and take some more pictures.  Yeah sure, they cause a stir with some folks.  But, I think they are the most graceful and beautiful of animals--one of the masterpieces of natural selection.


  1. Beautiful young guy! Excellent post. Thanks!

  2. Awesome Ken. Enjoy reading these. I try to avoid them biting me but I respect you for doing it.

  3. He's been letting snakes bite him for decades--glad there's finally video proof!

    Thanks for posting, pa. Every time I'm out in the field with oil workers, botanists, etc. I talk about how interesting and rare our midget faded rattlesnakes are. I also try to tell folks which species of snakes they've probably seen in the field. A little education goes a long way.