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What do Bullsnakes Eat? (Mice, Birds, Lizards)

What do Bullsnakes Eat

The diet of bull snakes varies depending on their size. However, the bull snake’s main diet consists of lizards, birds, frogs, eggs, rodents, and snakes.

Bull snakes often hunt during the day, but they become more active in the evenings and at night in warmer conditions such as summer. Bull snakes are non-venomous, so they choose to kill their victims via constriction.

They suffocate their victim by wrapping around their prey and tightening their coils more every time it breaths out until the prey dies from lack of oxygen. It just takes a few seconds for the bull snake to consume the animal entirely, generally head first.

What do Bull Snakes Eat?

bullsnake

Bull snakes are opportunistic predators. They will eat anything if they can capture it, kill, and swallow. Toads, lizards, duck eggs, Frogs, and ground-nesting birds, are among the many things bull snakes eat.

They consume a variety of foods, although pocket gophers and other small rodents such as mice, voles, ground squirrels, and tree squirrels are favorites. Lizards are only a minor component of the diet.

1. Rodents

mouse

Bullsnakes consume rodents for various reasons, including the fact that they are tiny, common, simple to kill, and may be found all over the world.

Rodents, such as rats, mice, hamsters, degus, and gerbils, are tiny, ground-dwelling animals that are warm-blooded and simple to track.

Rodents seldom leave their burrows looking for food, and because they are omnivores, they wouldn’t have to go far. Since rodents follow the same trail back to their burrows, bull snakes will wait for them along their trail or in their burrows.

Bull snakes are extremely strong, capable of squeezing prey as large as young rabbits. It just takes three seconds or less for their fangs to grasp hold of their prey and wrap around it before swallowing it whole.

Related Article: 25 Rodents that Look Like Mice

2. Birds and Eggs

bird

Bull snakes also love eating birds and eggs. A hungry bull snake may ascend to a tree to eat the newborn birds or eggs if it feels the need to hunt.

They usually climb trees by rubbing their belly scales on the bark.

Eggs are a rich source of nutrition and are generally easy to steal from a bird’s nest, especially if it is large enough to scare the bird away from the nest.

However, a bull snake does not always have to worry about driving the bird away from the nest. Bull Snakes large enough to consume a bird can simply kill the parents and eat the eggs. Baby birds are another quick and easy supper.

3. Lizards, Frogs, and Toads

lizard

Apart from warm-blooded animals, bull snakes also occasionally feed on cold-blooded animals such as lizards, frogs and toads.

To catch prey, they employ lures, twisting their brightly colored worm-like tails to bring frogs and lizards within striking distance.

Toads are usually easier for bull snakes to catch since they travel slower than other types of amphibians. Lizards on the other hand move a lot. However, this also makes them easy prey as snakes can detect vibrations emitted by prey as they move.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do bull snakes eat rattlesnakes?

Contrary to popular belief bull snakes do not eat rattlesnakes. The two snake species have been seen not only coexisting peacefully but also hibernating together. Unlike Kingsnakes, bull snakes are not known to actively hunt other snake species.

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What to feed bull snakes in captivity?

Bull snakes meals as house pets aren’t that dissimilar to their diets in the wild. When they’re young, they tend to eat a lot of small mice, generally two to three at a time.

It’s easiest to feed your newborn bull snake frozen baby mice because they’re healthy, low-cost, and readily available at your local pet store.

Make sure you choose a meal that is suitable for them. You should not feed a baby bull snake a large meal. Don’t forget that snakes consume their prey whole. As a result, feeding a young bull snake a meal larger than its size may cause it to choke.

Bull snakes typically prey on smaller rats or fully developed mice as adults. They usually are ready to start eating larger rats when they are between the ages of 2 and 3 years old, but only one at a time. 

As any snake owner knows, feeding your pet pre-killed food is always the best option. While many snakes may happily kill and consume live prey, your pet snake may be at risk. Even a minor mouse skirmish can hurt your snake, and you don’t want that to happen to your pet, especially if it’s a young one.

Zoo bull snakes devour a lot of mice as well, and chicks are regularly included in their meals. If you have any particular questions about feeding your bull snake, see an exotic veterinarian before you begin.

How often should you feed a bullsnake?

You should feed young bull snakes every 4 to 8 days. Because adult bull snakes take a long time to swallow and digest their food, they can go up to two weeks without eating. Therefore, feeding them once every ten days or so is enough.

How to tell if a bullsnake is hungry?

When a bull snake is hungry, it will let you know. It will begin prowling its enclosure, and the intensity and number of tongue flicks will increase. Using a pair of tongs, place the food in the pet’s cage. It may strike an owner’s hands if the odor of the food is on them.

How much food does a bullsnake eat before hibernation?

Bull Snakes consume twice as much as normal in the months preceding the brumation season. They stop feeding a few weeks before the start of hibernation to guarantee that no food remains in their body.

Snakes do not eat during hibernation because they are unable to digest their meals. The food would simply sit in the snake’s stomach and eventually spoil, causing the snake to become ill. Breathing and heartbeat slow down during hibernation and the temperature falls as well. All of this reduces energy consumption, allowing the snake to go without food.

Do bullsnakes consume water?

Bull snakes adore water. They must have access to clean water at all times. The split-fork tongue is ineffective for scooping and cupping water into a bull snake’s mouth. To begin, snakes do drink water but consume it in a very different manner than humans and other animals. 

Bull snakes pull water into their mouths in the same way as capillaries do in the body. Water is transported into their stomachs by skin folds that resemble small tubes. Snakes, like most other dryland species in the world, require hydration.

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Conclusion

Young bull snakes have a voracious appetite. Their desire to seek their prey might drive them to scale tiny trees and infiltrate bird nests to dine on their eggs. Bull Snakes can be enormous enough to coil around larger birds, such as chickens, and feed on them. When hunger hits, they turn to the quickest prey available.

Bullsnake nutrition is quite simple because they are built to consume the entire prey as a whole. This implies that they may obtain all of the nutrition they require from their prey. They obtain vitamin D from the liver of their prey and plant proteins from the gastrointestinal system of the prey.

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