Florida Pine snake: (Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus)
The Florida pine snake (pituophis melanoleucus mugitus), belongs to the colubridae family. Florida pine snakes average in size between 48 to 66 inches long, with the record being 90 inches long.
Florida pine snakes are large stocky snakes with distinctive color patterns that consist of reddish or dark tan blotches on a brownish gray or rusty brown back ground coloring, the pattern of dark blotches is distinct on the hind part of its body and tail. Some Florida pine snakes lack the blotched pattern giving them an overall light colored appearance , while others may have nearly all black markings. Their bellies are an ash gray in color. Their snouts are semi – pointed which is covered with a large triangular cone shaped rostral scale. This particular snake has four large scales on the top of its snout, rather than two as in many snakes. They also have round pupils.
Florida pine snakes are found throughout Florida, excluding the Keys. Their preferred habitats have dry sandy soils, mainly in cultivated fields, open pine – turkey oak woodlands, sand – hills, scrub and long leaf pine forests.
Florida pine snakes, like all snakes are carnivores, primarily consuming pocket gophers, lizards, rodents, small, birds and their eggs as well as reptile eggs.
Florida pine snakes are mainly active during the day but may become active at night during warmer temperatures. They are aggressive snakes when irritated , and when threatened they will inflate and lunge its fore body off the ground, vibrating the end of their tail against the ground, hissing loudly and striking vigorously. When its tail vibrates against leaf vegetation it sounds like a rattlesnake. Their bite is strong, powerful and painful, but harmless to humans. Due to their declining habitats and populations in many areas, the Florida pine snake is listed as a species of special concern by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.