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Bull Snake (Pituophis catenifer sayi) Bull Snake (Pituophis catenifer sayi)

Equipment for a Bull Snake

Vivarium: EX48 will generally be good but as your Bull snake reaches the 8’ mark I would start thinking something bigger
Or the MODX 24 would be a good choice and extend it as the snake grows
Lighting: Is for viewing though I would recommend a light with 2% UV output. Arcadia controller ACR18 with PT2151 Exo Terra UV2.0 Tube
Or Komodo Ceramic fitting with PT2190 repto glo 2.0 new compact
Heating: Microclimate AHS 350
Décor: Stout branches well secured. Extra large water bowl, Hide or cave of appropriate size for the snake
Substrate: Kitchen paper or newspaper for a young snake up to 1 year old then Aspen or Beech Chips

 
CARE
 
Bull snakes (Pituophis catenifer sayi) make an excellent snake for most people. Though I would not recommend one as a snake for a beginner. The reason for this is that Bull snakes can be a bit hyper as babies and juveniles. Often they are a very vocal snake and makes quite a defence display this can be unnerving to a first-time snake keeper. With that being said, I think just about anybody could handle the care requirements for a Bull snake or its closely related cousins, the Pine and Gopher snakes.
One of the great things about the Bull snake is that it doesn´t require very specialized conditions, with regard to temperature and humidity. In fact, a Bull snake will do well in a cage that ranges from room temperature (low to mid 70s Fahrenheit) to about 10° above room temperature. They are a very hardy snake.
Description and Appearance
Bull snakes can also be quite large and impressive when they reach adult size up to 10’ though generally 6-7’ is about their size. As far as appearance goes, these snakes generally have a yellow or cream-coloured base with brown or reddish-brown blotches down their backs.
People often mistake Bull snakes for Rattlesnakes in the wild, because they exist in the same range and bear similar colours. On top of that, a Bull snake in the wild will often rattle its tail when it feels threatened. Obviously, a Bull snake does not have a rattle at the end of its tail, but many snakes use the tale-rattling technique to warn predators. When they do this over dry leaves or a similar ground covering, it produces a sound similar to a Rattlesnake
 
Care Requirements for Bull Snakes
Housing: As I mentioned earlier, the Bull snake can be quite large when it reaches adult size. Specimens reaching 7´ are not uncommon. So you need an appropriate-sized cage to house your snake. A baby or juvenile can be kept in a smaller vivarium. An adult Bull snake should be kept in a cage that is 4´ x 2´ in size, or larger. Clean the cage thoroughly at least once a month, and spot-clean as needed to remove faeces, shed skin, etc.
Heating: Like all reptiles, Bull snakes are cold blooded. They rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. Provide a temperature range or "gradient" so your snake has options. I would recommend a range of about 75 to 87° Fahrenheit. You allow the temperature to drop by 5 degrees at night, as it does in the wild.
Heating: You can heat your Bull snake´s cage in a number of ways of ways. You can use heat mats that go on the floor of the vivarium, which is known as "belly heat." Or you can use heating bulbs or ceramic heaters to project the heat down from above, like the sun or the new ADHS heating system by Microclimate on plug heating system with a built in thermostat I personally prefer these.
If you choose the heat mat route it with an appropriate thermostat again if you use he bulb route use a dimmer thermostat and a pulse proportional thermostat for a ceramic heater. Always use a guard on bulbs and ceramic heaters.
Lighting: I recommend using a fluorescent light on a timer to provide a natural cycle of daylight. Bull snakes have a natural light cycle in the wild, so they should have the same in captivity. I find they are more active and show a better colour if they are given some UV light so I would recommend something with 2.0% UV output. Put the light on a timer for eight hours a day.
Feeding: In captivity, Bull snakes generally have a strong appetite. So getting the snake eating should be pretty straightforward. I recommend offering frozen / thawed rodents, as opposed to live rodents, because it´s safer for the snake and easier for you. Babies and juveniles can be fed every 5 - 7 days on pinkie mice. Adults can be fed an appropriate-sized meal every 10 - 14 days. To judge the size of the food mice or rats simply offer them food that is not more than 1½ times the widest girth of your snake. An adult Bull snake of 7’ plus will take a medium rabbit.
 
Water: Your snake should have clean drinking water available at all times. I recommend cleaning the water bowl a couple of times a week. Scrub the bowl well with antibacterial soap. If you clean it often, you won´t need to use bleach. If the snake poops in the bowl, remove and clean the bowl immediately. It happens!
Hides: In the wild, snakes spend most of their time hiding (except when they are hunting or basking in the sun). They hide under rocks, logs, anything that protects them from predators. Your Bull snake will feel more secure if you give it a couple of places to hide. I recommend placing a hide on both ends of the cage. 
 
 
John
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