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How to Recognize a

Photo by: Jeff Dragon


Average Length: 51 in (129.5 cm)
Maximum Length:  91 in (228.6 cm)

Coloration:  Black blotches on a white background or brown blotches on a tan or yellowish background

Head Shape:  Pointed snout with an enlarged rostral scale (scale on the tip of the snout)

Scales:  Weekly keeled (small ridge on the scale)

Young:  Resemble adults but are lighter in color


When threatened, Pinesnake will expel air quickly, producing a loud hiss.  These snakes are nonvenomous and harmless.  However, the sound can be intimidating.  Pinesnakes can cover large amounts of land, and home ranges can be up to several hundred acres.


Pinesnakes are burrowing snakes and prefer areas with sandy and loose soils.  Previous observations in Virginia have been in areas with sandy or rocky slopes.  These snakes have been observed on open, steep, rocky slopes in areas with abundant mountain laurel and pines.

Female Pinesnakes often lay eggs in underground burrows and under stumps.  These snakes have been known to nest communally. 

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Photo by: Sam Van Noy

Eastern Hog-nosed Snake

Photo by: John White

Eastern Ratsnake (juvenile)

The following organizations are great sources for additional Pinesnake Information