Species group: Gopher Snakes
Scientific name: Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus
Northern Pine Snakes are seen in New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. Common habitats include brushlands, prairies, open and cultivated fields, pine flatwoods and woodlands, chaparrals, and rocky deserts.
Appearance / health:
One of the largest North American snakes, the Northern Pine Snake matures to about 6 feet in length. The robust body has a base color of white, tan, or gray, sometimes yellowish. Markings are dark brown to black blotches, which often change into reddish chocolate in the mid-body area. The belly is white to cream with small dark spots. The head is small and pointed, and the rostral scale is wide and protruding. Scales are keeled.
Behavior / temperament:
Similar to other Gopher and Pine Snakes, the Northern Pine is shy and nervous. They are easily threatened, and react by poising to strike, hissing loudly, and vibrating the tail.
Northern Pine Snakes are best kept in medium to large secure enclosures provided with hide boxes, branches for climbing, and a stable water dish. Substrate, preferably newspaper or paper towels, should be deep enough for burrowing.
Fresh water should be provided daily and the enclosure cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Like other Gopher and Pine snakes, the Northern Pine Snake feeds primarily on pocket gophers and small rodents. They also prey on lizards, birds, eggs, and nestlings.
Northern Pine Snakes mate in the spring and lay clutches of 6-15 eggs within 10 weeks. Eggs hatch in 60-80 days.
voracious feeders, Great First Reptile, large snake, good choice, attractive markings
small rodents, pine flat woods, bluff, birds eggs, common pine snake, bravery
Lots of bluff
These snakes are pretty harmless, but if threatened they have the bravery and bluff of something a hundred times their size. If you upset one, they can puff themselves up and make a sound similar to Darth Vader! It's best to get them as a baby and handle regular and they can become pretty docile. They are quite a large snake, my adults are over 6ft long and fairly chunky for a colubrid, and I keep a pair in a 5ft by 2ft by 2ft enclosure.
They have attractive markings, quite striking pale grey/cream and black saddles/banding. Mine are voracious feeders and I have to be careful going into the enclosure that they understand when it's feeding day and when I'm handling them. You will definitely need a long pair of tongs to feed them!
Once they've figured out it's not food day, they are pretty calm when out of the enclosure - but if they tell me they're not in the mood to be handled, with hissing and puffing up in the enclosure - I leave them in peace.
Photo attached is of one of mine as a baby - they grew up fast, reading adult size in just over two years. Perhaps not the ideal first snake for the faint hearted, because of their ability to hiss and bluff, but as long as you're working with a tame snake or have some experience with reptiles, I think they are great..
From Athravan Jun 15 2015 4:33AM