This large, brown and cream colored, nonvenomous snake can have an intimidating look and sound. They have a big rostral (nose) scale and spade-shaped head to help excavate burrows of their favorite prey: pocket gophers.
Not only do Florida pine snakes have a loud hiss, they will also strike in a sweeping motion to appear more intimidating and scare off predators. They are commonly found taking shelter in pocket gopher holes or gopher tortoise burrows. Anywhere underground to escape the Florida summer heat is a good place for a pine snake. As their name implies, they like the well-drained areas of pine woods. During the mating season, males can be found fighting other males, while a female may be found excavating a new tunnel to lay her eggs.
Florida pine snakes are specialists, meaning they feed mostly on just one food source in the wild: pocket gophers.
Florida pine snakes use a cartilaginous keel in their throat to make a loud hissing/bellowing sound to scare off threats.
Florida, southern Georgia and Alabama
Pine woodlands and scrub
6–7 feet (231cm) long
Pocket gophers, small mammals, lizards, snakes and their eggs
When young, preyed upon by birds and mammals
Inflate its body, raises its head high, hisses loudly
4–8 large eggs per clutch
Up to 20 years