Common names: pine snake, pinesnake,[1] common pine snake,[2] more.

Pituophis melanoleucus is a harmless colubrid species found in the United States. Three subspecies are currently recognized, including the nominate subspecies described here.[1]


Adults are large, growing to 48-100 inches (122-254 cm) in length, and are powerfully built. The head is small and somewhat pointed with an enlarged rostral scale that extends upward between the internasal scales. There are usually 4 prefrontal scales. At midbody there are 27-37 rows of keeled dorsal scales.[3] The anal plate is single.[4] The color pattern consists of a light ground color overlaid with black, brown or reddish-brown blotches.[3]

Common namesEdit

Pine snake, pinesnake,[1] common pine snake, bull snake, black and white snake, carpet snake, chicken snake, common bull snake, eastern bull snake, eastern pine snake, horn(ed) snake, New Jersey pine snake, North American pine snake, northern pine snake, pilot snake, white gopher snake.[2]

Geographic rangeEdit

Found in the United States in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, southwestern North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Louisiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and New Jersey. It also occurs in southwestern Canada and in Mexico.[5]

The range for P. m. melanoleucus extends from southern North Carolina west through South Carolina to northern Georgia, eastern Tennessee, southeastern Kentucky and south into Alabama. Disjunct populations exist in southern New Jersey, west-central Virginia, adjacent West Virginia, central Kentucky and southwestern Tennessee. This subspecies intergrades with P. m. mugitus in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.[5]

Conservation statusEdit

This species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (v3.1, 2001).[6] Species are listed as such due to their wide distribution, presumed large population, or because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. The population trend is down. Year assessed: 2007.[7]


Prefers pine flatwoods, sandy pine-oak woodlands, prairies, cultivated fields, open brushland, rocky desert and chaparral. Occurs from sea level to an elevation of 9,000 feet (2,750 m).[3]


When disturbed, it will often hiss loudly, sometimes flattening its head, vibrate its tail and eventually strike at an intruder.[3] Some species will use 'Cloacal Popping' as a defense mechanism. To make the sound, the snakes contract their cloacal sphincter, forcing air (and any other material that happens to be there) out. It is an extremely foul smell that sometimes scares away predators. [8]


Prey includes rats, mice, moles, other small mammals and bird's eggs.[2] According to Mehrtens (1987), it often enters rodent burrows in search of a meal. In these cases, multiple kills are frequent with the snake pressing the mice against the walls of the burrow.[9]


After mating has taken place in the spring, clutches of 3-24 eggs are laid in June-August. The eggs are deposited in sandy burrows or under large rocks or logs and hatch after 64-79 days of incubation.[3] The eggs are adherent and quite large, up to 66 mm (2⅝ in.) long by 45 mm (1¾ in.) wide. The hatchlings measure 33-45 cm (13-17¾ in.) in total length.[2]


Subspecies[1] Authority[1] Common name[1] Geographic range[5]
P. m. lodingi Blanchard, 1924 Black pine snake From southwestern Alabama to eastern Louisiana.
P. m. melanoleucus (Daudin, 1803) Northern pine snake Southern New Jersey, southern North Carolina west through South Carolina to northern Georgia, eastern Tennessee, southeastern Kentucky and south into Alabama.
P. m. mugitus Barbour, 1921 Florida pine snake Southern South Carolina to Georgia and southern Florida.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Template:ITIS
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Wright AH, Wright AA. 1957. Handbook of Snakes. 2 volumes. Comstock Publishing Associates. (7th printing, 1985). 1105 pp. ISBN 0-8014-0463-0.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Behler JL, King FW. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 743 pp. LCCCN 79-2217. ISBN 0-394-50824-6.
  4. Conant R. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Second Edition. First published in 1958. Houghton Mifflin Company Boston. 429 pp. 48 plates. ISBN 0-395-19979-4. ISBN 0-395-19979-8 (pbk.).
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named NRDB
  6. Template:Redlist species
  7. Template:Redlist CC2001
  9. Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.

External linksEdit


fr:Pituophis melanoleucus it:Pituophis melanoleucus ja:パインヘビ

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