Florida Pine Snake

Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus

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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.

About the Species

Most predators are intimidated by the pine snake's defensive antics.

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.

Words From the Experts


Florida pine snakes are specialists, meaning they feed mostly on just one food source in the wild: pocket gophers.


Did You Know?

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

Natural Defenses

Inflate its body, raises its head high, hisses loudly


4–8 large eggs per clutch


Least Concern

Life Expectancy

Up to 20 years

  • Saving Animals From Extinction
  • Culture Builds Florida
  • Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums