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Pine Snake

Pine Snake

Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus                          Photo Fiona Sunquist ©


Pine snakes are large, thick-bodied snakes with black, dark brown or reddish blotches along the back.  They are highly variable in color – some individuals have no markings along the back, making them look almost albino.  Pine snakes have a cone-shaped head with a large triangular rostral (nose) scale.  The rostral scale and the conical head are adaptations for this snake’s burrowing habits.

Pine snakes are found primarily in longleaf pine-turkey oak sandhills, sand pine scrub, and old fields.  They spend a great deal of time underground, and have been radio-tracked traveling through the burrow systems of pocket gophers.  Pine snakes get into the burrow system by locating the tube that the pocket gopher uses to push soil to the surface, then pushing and punching its way in to the burrow using the rostral scale.

Pine snakes feed on pocket gophers, small mammals, ground dwelling birds and lizards.

When alarmed, pine snakes swell up and hiss loudly.  They may also bite if harassed. 


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