Other common names
Pine Woods Snake
Most adult Pine Woods Littersnakes are about 10-13 inches (25-33 cm) in total length. Adults are slender and typically reddish-orange to reddish-brown in color. The lips are whitish-yellow, and there is a thin dark line that runs through the eye to the corner of the mouth. Juvenile coloration is similar to that described for adults but often more vivid.
Range in Florida
Pine Woods Littersnakes are found throughout most of the Florida peninsula south to the Lake Okeechobee region, but they extend further south to Broward County along the east coast. There are isolated populations along the southern tier of the Panhandle west of Franklin County. They do not occur on the Florida Keys.
Assessment of risk to people and pets
Non-venomous. Pine Woods Littersnakes are not dangerous to people or pets.
Comparison with other species
Florida Brownsnake (Storeria victa) Non-venomous
Rough Earthsnake (Haldea striatula) Non-venomous
Smooth Earthsnake (Virginia valeriae) Non-venomous
Most adult Pine Woods Littersnakes are about 10-13 inches (25-33 cm) in total length, with a record length recorded of 15.9 inches (40.3 cm). Adults are slender and typically reddish-orange or reddish-brown in color, although some individuals can be yellowish-brown. The lips are whitish-yellow, and there is a thin dark line that runs through the eye to the corner of the mouth. The belly is uniform whitish-yellow without any markings. The scales are smooth and there are 17 dorsal scale rows at midbody. The pupil is round. Juvenile coloration is similar to that described for adults but often more vivid.
Pine Woods Littersnakes can be found in pinelands, hardwood hammocks, cypress strands, bayheads, and barrier islands. Within these habitats, these snakes prefer areas with abundant leaf litter. Adults and juveniles of this species are often found in suburban neighborhoods where development encroaches into favorable habitats.
These docile snakes do not bite in defense. If captured or molested, Pine Woods Littersnakes will try to escape and release foul-smelling musk from two glands in the base of the tail.
Pine Woods Littersnakes are nocturnal (active at night) predators and feed primarily on small lizards, snakes, salamanders, frogs, toads, and earthworms. These snakes are not constrictors. Larger prey are slowly immobilized using a mildly toxic venom that is delivered by two slightly elongated teeth at the rear of the mouth. However, smaller prey are often quickly swallowed alive.
In Florida, females lay around 1-4 eggs, which typically hatch between August and October.
No subspecies of pine woods littersnakes are currently recognized.
Pine Woods Littersnakes can be locally abundant in parts of their range, including in residential areas. However, these small and secretive snakes are rarely seen unless they are disturbed from their hiding places during yardwork or heavy rains. Otherwise, they are typically found by actively searching for them under rocks, logs, or other surface cover.
County data coming soon.
If you have a new or interesting observation for this species, please email the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum.
Ernst, C.H. and E.M. Ernst. 2003. Snakes of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. 668 pp.
Krysko, K.L., K.M. Enge, and P.E. Moler. 2019. Amphibians and Reptiles of Florida. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, Florida. 706 pp.
Myers, C.M. 1967. The pine woods snake, Rhadinaea flavilata (Cope). Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Sciences 11:47-97.
Powell, R., R. Conant, and J.T. Collins. 2016. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Fourth edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, Boston and New York. xiv + 494 pp.
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 or feedback on this profile.
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