Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus
The Florida pine snake ranges from southern South Carolina to Alabama and to all but the southern tip of Florida.
It prefers sandy areas covered by stands of long leaf pine or oak. May also be found in open fields, anywhere frequented by the pocket gopher – its preferred prey. Spends much time in underground burrows (may be the burrow of another animal or may dig the burrow itself).
Adults can measure up to 2.2 m. (7ft.). There can be a lot of variation in the color, but is typically tan with indistinct blotches of dark tan and rusty brown that are most distinct on the tail end of the body. Scales are keeled.
Reproduction / Lifecycle:
The Florida pine snake is oviparous or egg laying. Mating occurs in late winter or early spring. The females lay 15-24 eggs in summer, often in pocket gopher burrows.
Habits / Diet:
The Florida pine snake feeds on pocket gophers, rats, small rabbits, squirrels, birds and bird eggs. They are adept at burrowing and digging out their prey.
The pine snake is a constrictor. When alarmed, the Florida pine snake will swell its body, rattle its tail, hiss loudly and strike at intruders. In fallen leaves or pine needles, its rapidly vibrating tail can sound like a rattlesnake.
The Florida pine snake is very similar to the Louisiana pine snake, the northern pine snake and the black pine, they are all subspecies of the same genus and species. They are also very closely related to the bullsnake.
The Florida pine snake is protected by Florida law and classified as a Species of Special Concern. Their numbers are declining in the wild due to loss of habitat.
Living Snakes of the World; Mehrtens
Reptiles and Amphibians / Eastern & Central North America, Conant & Collins;
Complete Guide to Snakes of Florida, Haast & Anderson.