Montana Outdoors

May 17, 2011

(Don’t tell him this, but he’s completely harmless!)

Filed under: Animals — Tags: , — montucky @ 9:40 pm

Last night after dinner, as happens nearly every evening, I was invited by my friend The Pointer to go out for a hike, an activity that she absolutely lives for. I grabbed a light pack, hung my camera from the shoulder strap and we headed the Jeep toward an old gated road in the National Forest just a few miles away.

By the time we arrived at the gate a small storm had swept down over the valley from the Coeur d’Alene mountains across the river and a moderate rain had begun to fall. When I checked my pack for rain gear and found the old black umbrella that I usually keep lashed to it for such occasions the thought came to me that hiking through the forest on the last day of spring bear hunting season under a black umbrella was probably not the greatest of ideas!

We then moved our hike to another area, one that was not open to hunting, and on the way found this pretty little fellow and moved him off the road and out of harm’s way, for which favor he posed for me, coiling nicely, vibrating the tip of his tail in his very best rattlesnake imitation, and hissing impressively. (He was a very pretty specimen!)

Bullsnake (Pituophis catenifer sayi)

Bullsnake ~ Pituophis catenifer sayi



  1. I’m glad you say he’s harmless… scares the you know what outta me!


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — May 17, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

    • They sure do need better PR agents! Around here the old ranchers used to keep several Bullsnakes around to keep control of the mice, especially around grain sheds, even hay sheds and near their houses. Some have said that they would also keep rattlesnakes away, but I don’t know if that’s true.


      Comment by montucky — May 17, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

  2. WOW! Not knowing anything about snakes – I’d be terrified to touch him. But – look what you got! Such a terrific capture!!!


    Comment by Marcie — May 18, 2011 @ 6:06 am

    • These are common here and this one is a very pretty specimen. He will bite, but is not poisonous. Puts on quite a display though.


      Comment by montucky — May 18, 2011 @ 9:18 am

  3. Bull snake! What a fine critter. What a great photo! In the east we have hognose snakes that rattle their tails in the leaves immitating rattlers.

    Good idea changing locations of your hike on the last day of bear season!


    Comment by Wild_Bill — May 18, 2011 @ 6:34 am

    • At first glance these look a bit like rattlers and act enough like them to fool some of their predators. Sadly, lots of people kill them just because they are snakes.


      Comment by montucky — May 18, 2011 @ 9:20 am

  4. He put on a good show for you and I am sure would scare off other animals not inclined to mess with him. Very nice portrait.


    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — May 18, 2011 @ 6:37 am

  5. Harmless but they have a pretty nasty bite (painful, though not poisonous). I know this from experience. I love that you got him with his tongue out, checking you out as you checked him.


    Comment by burstmode — May 18, 2011 @ 6:54 am

    • Yes, I avoid getting bitten. This one opened him mouth wide and hissed loudly as a reminder that he can bite. Defensive, but not aggressive.


      Comment by montucky — May 18, 2011 @ 9:22 am

  6. Pretty. I love snakes….


    Comment by Roberta Warshaw — May 18, 2011 @ 7:05 am

    • I do too. Understanding them is safer than just being afraid of them. Even with rattlesnakes there is seldom a problem.


      Comment by montucky — May 18, 2011 @ 9:23 am

  7. Very nice portrait of a beautiful creature.


    Comment by anniespickns — May 18, 2011 @ 7:06 am

  8. A fine shot. A little too close for comfort…even if they are harmless.


    Comment by stuaato — May 18, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    • He was close. I had a close-up lens on the camera and didn’t have time to change it, so it was a very close shot.


      Comment by montucky — May 18, 2011 @ 9:26 am

  9. Terry:

    Sir Snake looks like he’s trying real hard to look ferocious; but I think there’s a sly smile there.



    Comment by Chad — May 18, 2011 @ 11:21 am

    • A smirk, actually. Most folks don’t realize that snakes have a sense of humor.


      Comment by montucky — May 18, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

  10. He is a beauty! I can say that because I am a couple thousand miles from him. Some of the largest snakes I saw growing up in Oklahoma were bullsnakes. When you say little about this one, just what do you mean?


    Comment by sandy — May 18, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

    • About four feet long. I remember seeing one when I was a kid that was wider than a set of tire tracks.

      I have seen some rattlesnake skins from Oklahoma that were just huge!


      Comment by montucky — May 18, 2011 @ 9:10 pm

  11. Amazing photo, Dad! I love it! What did Molly think of him?


    Comment by juls — May 18, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

    • I didn’t let her get close to him. She got aggressive with the first one she saw (one that had been killed) and grabbed it. I wanted to make sure she didn’t grab this one.


      Comment by montucky — May 18, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

  12. Hi Montucky, What an excellent picture. I sure wish I liked snakes…
    Have a wonderful day tomorrow!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — May 18, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

    • I guess I developed a liking for snakes from being around them and lizards quite a bit. I do not like having the poisonous varieties near our house though.


      Comment by montucky — May 18, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

  13. He is handsome but I wouldn’t have known the difference. You’re sure a good ID’er of flora and fauna.


    Comment by Candace — May 18, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

    • I’ve been around bullsnakes and rattlers all of my life and so have gotten to know them quite well. The ID’s of wildflowers are much more difficult and my accuracy isn’t all that great even though I try hard to get it right. I do try to label the photos in hopes that even if they are not always right, they might give someone else an indication that they can follow up on.


      Comment by montucky — May 18, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

  14. YiKeS! He may be harmless, but I’d accidentally hurt/kill myself/others trying to get away! LoL! =)

    You sure got a great shot, tho… check out that tongue!


    Comment by Tricia — May 19, 2011 @ 9:47 am

    • He kept using his tongue to try to figure out just what I was. I was able to time it just right.


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

  15. I actually love snakes. My, what a beauty this snake is, and posed rather nicely for you. 🙂 Great capture of the bullsnake!


    Comment by Anna — May 19, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

    • He did pose nicely although he was a little annoyed that I chased him off the road. I hope he stays away from it!


      Comment by montucky — May 19, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

  16. Unbevielable – nonvenomous.

    To me it is not looking friendly. 🙂


    Comment by sartenada — May 19, 2011 @ 11:33 pm

    • He was a little annoyed, but he should have thanked me for getting him away from the roads.


      Comment by montucky — May 20, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

  17. Nice eye, he has. My sister had a python that loved going to sleep curled behind one in an armchair and if one moved, he would spit and get very annoyed!


    Comment by Val — May 23, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

    • I’ve not had one as a pet, but I sure would like this one to take up residence in our old garage to keep the mice under control!


      Comment by montucky — May 23, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

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