The Florida Pinesnake

01 Apr

Florida Pinesnakes (Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus) are perhaps one of the most pleasurable snakes to encounter in the field in Florida. They combine beautiful patterning with intimidating demeanor. These are one of the few snakes in the world that audibly and consistently let off a loud hiss when disturbed. They are extremely rare in Florida anywhere south of Lake Okeechobee, though a little north can still be potentially turned up in Highlands and Okeechobee county; and I’ve heard from others that they get a little bit easier to come across farther north in the peninsula. I’ve encountered three of these animals to date; all juveniles from Okeechobee county.

Their ‘rarity’ is likely due to a synergy of things: their mostly fossorial (underground) existence, limited availability of their favorite food source – the Southeastern Pocket Gopher (Geomys pinetis) and also because of their “no backing down” demeanor, which often lands them at the sharp end of a shovel and a gun – a friend of mine found a five footer earlier last year with a bullet hole through his head. Here is an individual found by group effort in Okeechobee county. I was in the other car that evening, but herping is a group effort:



Posted by on 01/04/2011 in Species Profiles


3 responses to “The Florida Pinesnake

  1. Bill Love

    30/04/2011 at 1:10 am

    Did you / your pals find that juv Florida pine snake AT NIGHT?

    • Josh

      30/04/2011 at 1:18 am

      Bill – Like 2/3 of the Pines I’ve caught from that county, it was found after sunset – enough so that flashlights were needed, but before full dark. Finding juveniles after dark, from what I’ve heard from friends who’ve found them in the county, is not uncommon.

  2. Daniel D. Dye

    07/05/2011 at 1:28 am

    Most definitely my favorite.


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