Pine Snake Pituophis melanoleucus

Family: Colubridae - Harmless Egg-Laying Snakes

Typical Adult Size: 48 to 66 inches

Eye Pupil: round

Dorsal Scales: keeled

Anal Scale: single

SC Range Map

Additional Images

Pine Snakes are large, powerfully constricting snakes. They are fossorial in nature, that is, spending much time beneath ground. They feed principally upon rodents. They are active during daytime hours, except in hot weather when they may roam the surface at night. Pine Snakes are one of only a few snakes which can actually construct their own burrow. They have relatively small, pointed heads which aid in burrowing in sand and forest cover material. Eggs are laid in burrows.

In South Carolina there are two subspecies of Pine Snakes: Northern (Pituophis m. melanoleucus) and Florida (Pituophis m. mugitus). The Northern Pine Snake has dark, almost black, blotches on a very light, almost white, background. The Florida Pine Snake has a tan on creme coloring, with blotches being less distinct. The Florida subspecies is found only in the southern most areas of South Carolina. There is intergrading of the subspecies in adjacent range areas.

The Pine Snakes and the Hognose Snakes are the only native SC snakes which can make a loud hissing sound.

Additional Images:

Northern Pine Snake, Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus Florida Pine Snake, Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus
immature, length = approx. 42 inches adult, length = approx. 78 inches
immature, length = approx. 42 inches adult, head scales
head, hissing juveniles
immature, length = approx. 36 inches  
juvenile, length = 18 inches  
Pine Snake hissing  
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July 07, 2009
Contact: South Carolina Reptiles and Amphibians