Pine Snake
Pituophis melanoleucus

Photo by RW Van Devender


Description: Pine snakes are vary large, bulky snakes that usually have dark blotches on a mostly light brown or gray background. In some individuals, the blotches may be obscured and run together, especially near the head.

Feeding/Diet: They are active during the daytime when they move from burrow to burrow looking for the rodents on which they feed. They are strong constrictors and have even been known to constrict and kill more than one mouse at a time.

Habitat/Range: Pine snakes are most common in the Sandhills and southeastern Coastal Plain where they spend most of their time underground. Because of habitat destruction, the pine snake is a species of special concern in North Carolina.

Reproduction: Pine snakes lay 5–12 large eggs in a burrow during June or July. The young, which hatch a couple of months later, are miniatures of the adults.

Miscellaneous: When threatened, they will rear back in a coil and hiss at their attacker. A small flap of cartilage in front of the windpipe allows these snakes to hiss loudly. Some scientists have even speculated that their hiss mimics the sound of a rattlesnake’s rattle. If disturbed, the pine snake will also rapidly vibrate its tail and may bite if picked up.

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The shaded region represents the range of the pine snake in North Carolina.

Photo by RW Van Devender

Photo by RW Van Devender

Photo by RW Van Devender

Photo by RW Van Devender A pine snake exhibiting their typical hissing behavior.
Photo by RW Van Devender

This website created by: J. Willson, Y. Kornilev, W. Anderson, G. Connette and E. Eskew.
For comments or questions contact M. Dorcas:
M. Dorcas homepage:
Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina 28035-1719.

Text and maps from: Dorcas, M. E. 2004. A Guide to the Snakes of North Carolina. Davidson College - Herpetology Laboratory, Davidson, NC. – Copyright by Michael E. Dorcas.

Partial Funding for this website provided by a Associate Colleges of the South, National Science Foundation, and Duke Energy.