Bull Snake enclosure size

Bull Snake Enclosure Size

Time to take a look at Bull Snake enclosure size. They might be colubrids, but these snakes are a lot chunkier than Corn Snakes and Milk Snakes, making their housing requirements a little bigger…

Last updated on February 1st, 2023 at 09:28 am

According to experts, a plastic container or an aquarium of approximately 5-10 gallon capacity is an appropriate shelter for hatchlings. Adult bull snakes, on the other hand, require an enclosure of dimensions 4′L x 2′W x 2′H. The right enclosure is essential for the health of the snake.

Bull snakes are powerful predators but they can make fine pets once tamed and accustomed to human presence.

Bull snake size

The Bull Snake (Pituophis cantenifer sayi) is one of several subspecies of Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer). Quite commonly kept as pets, the bull snake is the biggest subspecies of the Goper Snake.

Newborns are generally 12-18 inches (30-45cm) in length and are capable of rapid growth.

Adult bullsnakes are sized somewhere between 4 to 6 feet (1.3-1.8m). Certain large individuals are reported to grow to an astonishing length of 7 feet (2.1m).

The largest specimen measured, scaled at 8 feet 4 inches (2.56m). On the contrary, certain adults stop growing once they reach a measly length of 4 feet.

The snout-to-vent length (SVL) may range from 75 cm for smaller bull snakes, to up to 148 cm for adult males.

Bull Snake enclosure size
Bull Snake taking a dip in the South Platte River, Colorado

Are male or female bull snakes bigger?

An intriguing fact about bull snakes is that they aren’t usually sexually dimorphic. In simpler words, both males and females are found to reach similar sizes in adulthood.

Studies have pointed to the fact that in many subspecies of the Gopher Snake, the average size of males and females can be quite similar. However, there are certain exceptions where males can grow significantly larger than females.

Bull snake weight

Bull Snake enclosure size

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Bull snakes come in varying lengths and sizes, hence it is obvious that their weights also vary accordingly.

On average, bull snakes weigh around 4-8 pounds (1.8-3.6 kg). Most specimens weigh around 3-5 pounds (1.4-2.2 kg), whereas some larger bull snakes are reported to weigh as much as 7-9 pounds (3.2-4kg).

How long does it take for a bull snake to be full-grown?

Most bull snakes reach sexual maturity at or around 2 years of age. A fully mature adult bull snake is usually at least 2 years old and at least 4 feet in length. However, some bull snakes are reported to reach a maximum length of 5 feet in 2-3 years.

Some bull snakes keep growing to greater lengths and can grow even after 2 years of age.

How fast do bull snakes grow?

Bull Snake enclosure size
A very dark Bull Snake. They tend to be darker in the eastern part of their range

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Bull snakes are capable of pretty rapid growth. There are certain factors that determine the growth rate of bull snakes. These are:

  • whether they are being raised in captivity or not
  • lineage (how big their parents were)
  • feeding regime

According to certain studies, Nebraska bull snakes are around 33cm in their snout-to-vent length when they hatch. They are capable of growing so fast that they reach almost twice their birth size within the first year.

Baby bull snake enclosure

Bull Snake Care Sheet

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Some of the most important things to keep in mind while looking for a bull snake enclosure are a sturdy lid and proper ventilation. Bull snakes can be really powerful and adamant, and hence a strong lid is a must.

Most bull snakes live in dry habitats and they aren’t accustomed to humidity. Hence it is necessary to ensure that the enclosure has proper ventilation.

When it comes to the enclosure size, baby bull snakes generally require an aquarium, tub, container, or vivarium which is at least 30 cm (12 inches) long. For hatchling bull snakes up to 30 inches in length, a 10-gallon container is more than enough.

Bull snake lifespan

Bull snakes are reported to have an average lifespan of around 10 to 15 years. There are exceptional specimens recorded to have crossed 25 years of age, but such examples are very rare.

Most healthy bull snakes can live up to 12 years in the wild, while many others have a shorter lifespan due to the perils of nature. Bull snakes can live up to 20 or 25 years in captivity and under proper care.

Bull snakes may suffer from many diseases and ailments such as:

  • lesions and skin infections
  • mouth rot
  • parasites
  • respiratory diseases.

Usually, these are taken care of in captivity but can result in death in the wild. To avoid these problems ever cropping up, always focus on providing the correct food, temperature, humidity and hygiene. Read our Bull Snake husbandry guide to learn more.

Beautiful albino Bull Snake
A beautiful albino Bull Snake

Are bull snakes messy?

Bull snakes are not only messy, but they can also stink. Hence, it is necessary to thoroughly clean the enclosure regularly.

Bull snakes can be messy and aggressive eaters. They are also known to excrete and defecate more than other snakes.

Most animals and reptiles require intensive care and proper hygienic conditions to thrive. In the case of bull snakes, additional care is required and the enclosure needs to be cleaned on a more regular basis than most other snakes.

Can bull snakes dig holes?

Like most other snakes, bull snakes enjoy a cool environment. Hence, they spend most of their hours in burrows, underground chambers, or under rocks.

Though snakes are generally not physiologically equipped for digging holes, the bull snake has come up with an ingenious adaptation to meet the purpose.

Bull snakes have a slightly pointed, hardened snout which is well suited for digging out dirt and making burrows. However, Bull snakes prefer sandy and loose soil where they can easily burrow.

Often, when you see them digging a fresh burrow it is to lay their eggs in. Otherwise, they often take the lazy option and use groundhog or gopher burrows.

Do bull snakes climb?

Bull Snake enclosure size

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Bull snakes are primarily ‘fossorial’ animals that prefer living in burrows. However, there have been many instances where bull snakes are seen to be climbing trees in search of a meal.

Bull snakes are able to climb trees with the help of a marvelous mechanism. They use the scales on their bellies to press against the tree barks, which helps them climb trees with ease.

Bull snakes are quite proficient in climbing. This perk allows them to raid the nests of birds in search of eggs or hatchlings.

Ideal enclosure size for adults

Adult bull snakes are usually 5-7 feet in length with certain exceptional specimens growing bigger. Bull snakes come in different sizes like most other snakes.

A proper shelter for an adult bull snake is required to consider such variations in size. Experts widely agree that an aquarium or vivarium sized 4 feet x 2 feet x 2 feet makes for an ideal enclosure for most adult bull snakes.

Bull Snake enclosure size

FAQ relating to Bull Snake enclosure size

Nowadays many people are choosing to have reptiles as pets. Lizards, Iguanas, and even snakes are starting to become popular pets in many affluent countries.

Bull snakes can make good pets, provided that the owner is experienced and well-informed about them. More and more people are opting to have a pet bullsnake and this raises the question, “what is the ideal bullsnake enclosure size?”

What size tank does a bull snake need?

Following a general rule of thumb, a 6 feet long bull snake is required to be kept in a tank of at least 55-gallon capacity.

If an owner is planning to breed bull snakes, then a 70-gallon tank should provide adequate space to house an adult male and a female.

Hatchling bull snakes can be sheltered in a 10-gallon tank. The size needs to be increased steadily to accommodate a rapidly growing hatchling, in order to prevent them from feeling cramped and stressed.

Bull Snake with nice, reddish colouration
Defensive threat display used by Bull Snakes

Are bull snakes good for beginners?

Bull snakes aren’t venomous but they can be really nervous and difficult to handle at times. These are strong and powerful wild animals and are capable of biting when frightened, hence they should be treated with caution.

Hatchling and young bullsnakes can be really aggressive and take patience to tame. Moreover, bull snakes don’t respond well to being manhandled and they tend to keep moving while someone is holding them.

When it comes to handling bull snakes, confidence is key and hence it is not recommended for first-time snake owners to start off with a bull snake unless they are comfortable with some hissing and striking on occasion.

Bull Snake enclosure size

Can bull snakes be housed together?

Bull snakes aren’t known for practicing ‘ophiophagy’ (the practice of eating snakes), however, there are always some exceptions. Bull snakes can be housed together but it is required to be extremely cautious while doing so.

If an owner wishes to house two adult bull snakes for the purpose of breeding, then care should be taken to only keep equivalently sized individuals together.

If one plans on housing two adult bullsnakes, one is required to be extremely cautious for adult males which are known for fighting during the breeding season. Care should be taken to always feed the snakes separately.

Do bull snakes need heat?

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Bull snakes prefer cooler climates and don’t need higher temperatures to thrive. It is necessary to keep the temperatures around 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and drop the temperature by 5-15 degrees at night.

It is essential to provide a bull snake enclosure with one or more hot spots depending on the size of the enclosure and the number of individuals housed. Hot spot temperatures shouldn’t ideally exceed 93 degrees Fahrenheit and it is advised not to use hot rocks for this purpose.

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