NON-VENOMOUS

Other common names

Pine snake, Florida Pinesnake

Basic description

Most adult eastern pinesnakes are 48-66 inches (122-168 cm) in total length. These are large, thick-bodied snakes with an indistinct pattern of large reddish brown or dark tan blotches on a cream, tan, or brownish-gray ground color. The pattern of dark blotches is most distinct on the hind part of the body and the tail. Some individuals lack the blotched pattern giving them an overall light-colored appearance, whereas others may appear nearly all black. The juvenile color pattern is similar to adults but brighter and less obscured towards the head.

snake with brown and white markings coiled on the ground
Photo courtesy of Florida Pinesnake. Photo courtesy of Dirk J. Stevenson

Range

Eastern pinesnakes occur throughout the state, excluding the Florida Keys, the Everglades, extreme southwestern Florida, and immediately north of Lake Okeechobee.

Assessment of risk to people and pets

Non-venomous Eastern pinesnakes are not dangerous to people or pets, but they will readily bite to defend themselves. These snakes are not aggressive and avoid direct contact with people and pets. Virtually all bites occur when the snakes are intentionally bothered.

Comparison with other species

snake with its head raised above the grass.
Eastern coachwhip

Eastern coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum) Non-venomous Eastern coachwhips have a dark brown or black head and neck that transition into a tan body and tail. They lack the enlarged triangular rostral scale, and they have smooth scales.

coiled snake showing black and red tongue
Eastern ratsnake

Eastern ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) Non-venomous Eastern ratsnakes are yellow to gray with four dark longitudinal stripes, sometimes retaining the juvenile’s dark dorsal blotches. They lack an enlarged triangular rostral scale on the snout.


Gray ratsnake
Gray ratsnake

Gray ratsnake (Pantherophis spiloides) Non-venomous Gray ratsnakes may be white to gray with dark gray blotches, and they lack an enlarged triangular rostral scale on the snout.


Share your observations

You can help scientists better understand the biology and distribution of this species by sharing your observations. Send photos or videos of interesting observations, along with associated information, by emailing the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum for documentation in the Museum’s Herpetology Master Database. You can also post your observations on iNaturalist.

Additional helpful information

Do you have snakes around your house? Learn how to safely co-exist with snakes.

Still have questions about snakes or identifications? Feel free to email the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum with your questions.

Banner photo courtesy of Dirk J. Stevenson. Please credit any photographers on the page and see our copyright policy.