Florida Pine Snake

Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus

Find Me Underground

This large brown and cream nonvenomous snake can have an intimidating look and sound. They have a large 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. While this usually scares off predators, these snakes are uncommon in their range. They may be found in pocket gopher holes or gopher tortoise burrows. Anywhere underground to escape the heat in the Florida summer 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

Quotes

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

Heather

Did You Know?

They use a cartilaginous keel in their throat to make a loud hissing or bellowing sound to scare off threats.

Facts

Origin

Florida, some of southern Georgia and Alabama

Habitat

pine woodlands and scrub

Size

6-7 feet (231cm)

Diet

pocket gophers, small mammals, lizards, other snakes and their eggs

Predators

When young, preyed upon by birds and mammals

Natural Defenses

When threatened, it will inflate its body, raise its head high, and hiss loudly

Reproduction

Females will sometimes construct their own side burrow in which to lay their clutch of 4-8 large eggs.

Status

Least Concern

Life Expectancy

up to 20 years

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