Terrifying moment bullsnake, known to eat rattlesnakes, confronts unsuspecting family

A family in Dorset were too scared to approach the 4ft long striped reptile, that eats rodents and small mammals, and put out a request on social media for help and advice on what to do

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Dorset: Family finds terrifying bull snake in their garden

A family were left “petrified” after an aggressive 4ft large bullsnake slid into a garden shed in Dorset as they pleaded for help on social media.

The bullsnake, a large species native to America, escaped from its home and ended up in Helen Martin’s back garden in Sherborne, Dorset.

Husband Lee Martin spotted the slithering snake along the patio and decking before it sought refuge in the shed.

Helen, 35, said she was afraid for the safety of her dog and five-year-old son Alfie during the ordeal.

The couple were too scared to approach the 4ft-long striped reptile, that eats rodents and small mammals, so decided to put out a request on social media asking for help and advice on what to do.

After receiving advice and help following their social media request, a local herpetologist arrived and managed to capture the snake two hours later and put it in a plastic box.

Helen Martin with son Alfie



The aggressive snake that slide under Helen’s garden



Although non-venomous bullsnakes are known for showing aggression towards humans.

And when confronted by danger they rear up and hiss at their opponent before lunging at them.

She said: “My husband was putting the rubbish out when he heard a hissing sound.

“He turned around and there was a snake just a few feet away.

“He couldn’t believe it and picked up the camera and sent me a video as I was at work at the time.

“By the time I got home it was on top of the decking and then slithered into the shed.

“I am absolutely petrified of snakes so this was my worst nightmare.

“I made my husband open the shed door as I needed to know it was still in there.

“I took to Facebook to try and identify what type of snake it was. Most people said it was a grass snake so when I phoned the RSPCA they didn’t want to know. Neither did the local vets.

“I could not relax knowing there was a snake in my garden and needed it removing. We have a dog and a child so couldn’t let them out.

“Eventually a local snake expert contacted me to say that they could come and catch it. But they said it wasn’t a grass snake and it was non-native.

“They went through every corner of the shed and found it at the back under a cover we had stored in there.

“They caught the snake in a pillowcase and then identified it as a bull snake. They took it safely back to their home.

“I am still traumatized and don’t think I can ever face going in my shed again.

“I’m just lucky that my husband spotted it and the dog or our son hadn’t found it.”

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Bullsnakes are intimidating as they can wrap themselves around their prey and choke them, and vibrate their tails rapidly.

Their choice of food often are mammals like mice, moles, rats, squirrels, and birds, but have even been known to eat other snakes like rattlesnakes.

They’re often mistaken for rattlesnakes due to their similar coloring and both adopting an S-shaped body posture before they strike.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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