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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 7:22 EDT

Pine Snake

Pine Snakes, Pituophis melanoleucus, are a large species of non-venomous snakes in the family Colubridae. They are native to the United States. Pine snake generally refers to the Northern Pine Snake, unless otherwise stated. There are other species such as the Black, Florida, and Louisiana Pine Snake. The Northern Pine Snake has the largest range of the pine snakes. It occurs mainly in the northern states, but also traverses into several southern states as well.

Pine snakes are large and powerful, but have a small head in comparison to the body. They are light-colored with black or brown blotches on the back and sides, or they are sometime all black. The snout is somewhat pointed. They are carnivorous and will consume a variety of prey. Mice, moles, gophers, chipmunks, squirrels, birds, rabbits and eggs are all taken by the pine snake. Sometimes a northern pine snake will enter a burrow, eat all the inhabitants, and take the burrow for its own.

The Pine snake prefers pine-oak forest areas in and around infertile sandy soils. Within these habitats, the snake selects open sandy clearings with little ground cover for nesting. Summer dens occur in clearings and near fallen logs. Winter burrows are located near vegetation cover and leaf litter. Pine snakes are one of the few snakes that are known to excavate their own burrows or dens.

Pine Snake