The old saying, “If it has teeth, it can and will bite,” holds true for the non-venomous bull snake. This and all other snakes are carnivores with teeth, which they wield for securing food as well as for defending themselves. The bull snake is closely related to gopher and pine snakes, all of which are often mistaken for each other. This critter is also often confused with the rattlesnake.
No Fangs Needed
Other that possibly frightening someone who’s unfamiliar with snakes, the only real harm the bull snake can inflict on humans is a potentially painful bite. All North American non-venomous snakes have four rows of solidly fixed, backward curving teeth in the bottom jaw and four in the top. They’re well equipped to quickly replace teeth, which are often broken or lost during feeding. The bull snake uses these weapons to snag and hold prey firmly as it wraps constricting coils around the struggling animal. The teeth “walk” the animal toward snake’s throat, aiding the reptile with swallowing
Strike Three -- You're Out
Bull snakes employ two different types of bites -- a feeding bite and a strike. When the animal perceives a prey item, it moves forward rapidly and latches onto the victim with the lethally accurate death grip of the feeding bite. A strike is a defensive warning that you’re out of line. The bull snake will inflict a lightning quick bite followed by a rapid release.
A full-time writer since 2007, Axl J. Amistaadt is a DMS 2013 Outstanding Contributor Award recipient. He publishes online articles with major focus on pets, wildlife, gardening and fitness. He also covers parenting, juvenile science experiments, cooking and alternative/home remedies. Amistaadt has written book reviews for Work At Home Truth.