Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus - (Daudin, 1803)
Northern Pinesnake
Other English Common Names: northern pinesnake
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus (Daudin, 1803) (TSN 209397)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100207
Element Code: ARADB26012
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Reptiles - Snakes
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Reptilia Squamata Colubridae Pituophis
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Help
Concept Reference: Collins, J. T. 1990. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. 3rd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Herpetological Circular No. 19. 41 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B90COL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus
Taxonomic Comments: See taxonomic comment for P. melanoleucus.
Conservation Status
Help

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4T4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 23Sep1997
Global Status Last Changed: 23Sep1997
Rounded Global Status: T4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Patchy range from New Jersey to Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia; many occurrences and relatively common (for a predator) in some areas, but probably declining due mainly to habitat alteration/fragmentation and direct mortality from humans, but population data are lacking.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (05Oct1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S3), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S2), Kentucky (S2), New Jersey (S2), North Carolina (S2), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (S3), Virginia (SH), West Virginia (SH)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Southern North Carolina and South Carolina west to northern Georgia, eastern Tennessee, and southeastern Kentucky, and well south into Alabama; small disjunct colonies in southern New Jersey, west-central Virginia and adjacent West Virginia, central Kentucky, and southwest Tennessee; a larger colony in western Tennessee and adjacent southwestern Kentucky and northern Alabama. Integrades with the Florida pine snake in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama (Conant and Collins 1991).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Estimated 165 extant occurrences in New Jersey; 25 represent dens, hibernacula, or nesting areas (R. Dutko, pers. comm., 1997); 50% are from two townships in Ocean County. Eight documented occurrences in Kentucky (B. Palmer-Ball, pers. comm., 1997). Additional estimated occurrences include: 6-20 in Georgia (J. Jensen, pers. comm., 1997); 21-100 in North Carolina (H. LeGrand, pers. comm., 1997); 6-20 in Virginia (S. Roble, pers. comm., 1997); 21-100 in South Carolina (S. Bennett, pers. comm., 1997); peripheral in West Virginia, 1 historical record (S. Blackburn, pers. comm., 1997). In Alabama, an estimated 6-20 extant occurrences; condition of occurrences estimated to be 10% excellent, 30% good, 30% fair, and 30% fair; not adequately surveyed (M. Bailey, pers. comm., 1997). The Tennessee Valley Authority documented 61 collection localities collected from 1935-1990 (H. Henry, pers. comm., 1997). Ranges over entire state of Tennessee; due to secretive habits, difficult to know how rare (Redmond et al. 1990). Due to fossorial, crepuscular habits difficult to survey, most observations are of dead-on-road specimens (S. Bennett, pers. comm., 1997). Probably more common than records indicate; lack of records from areas of apparently suitable habitat may reflect burrowing tendency (Palmer and Braswell 1995).

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Overall population surely exceeds 10,000 individuals. Bennett (pers. comm., 1994) pointed out that pine snakes are typically one of the most abundant animals in xeric upland areas at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. However, Williams (pers. comm., 1994) reported that pine snakes were rarely seen on the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge. Bennett (pers. comm., 1994) suggested that pine snakes, as large top carnivores, were never abundant and are distributed in localized populations where they are often fairly common. Uncommon in Kentucky (B. Palmer-Ball, pers. comm., 1997). Presumably a few thousand in North Carolina (H. LeGrand, pers. comm., 1997). Not common in Alabama (Mount 1975). Never abundant in Georgia (J. Jensen, pers. comm., 1997). Common in South Carolina, though never abundant at a single location (S. Bennett, pers. comm., 1997). Probably at least 2000-3000 individuals exist in Alabama (M. Bailey, pers. comm., 1997).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Pine snakes are large, conspicuous, and relatively slow and are thus an easy mark for people who kill snakes on sight. Despite apparently low population densities and fossorial habits, several authors have reported numerous encounters with pine snakes on relatively open habitats and roadways (Burger and Zappalorti 1988, Gibbons and Semlitsch 1991). Other threats to pine snakes include excessive collecting, road mortality, habitat alteration, and pesticide use (Ernst and Barbour 1989; Franz 1992; Zappalorti, pers. comm., 1994). Commercial logging of longleaf pine habitat probably has caused declines. As with many sandhills-dependent organisms, outright loss of habitat occurs when land is converted to agriculture, housing, or single-species pine plantations. Remaining areas are degraded so that their suitability for pine snakes is greatly diminished. Exclusion of fire leads to the oak component becoming too dominant, and densely stocked stands may not provide adequate openings for nesting or hibernacula. Zappalorti (1994, pers. comm.) listed habitat fragmentation as the primary threat to pine snake survival in New Jersey. Increasing human development of the New Jersey Pinelands has led to increased human access to previously remote areas, greater off-road recreational use, and ultimately increased paved roadways and traffic. The presence of humans can cause the abandonment of potential nest sites (Burger and Zappalorti 1986).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: The overall distribution of the pine snake in New Jersey continues to shrink as human population grows (Zappalorti et al. 1983; Zampella, pers. comm., 1994; Zappalorti, pers. comm., 1994). No firm population trends in Kentucky; status threatened; habitat loss probably caused widespread decline across most of state; currently extant in only 3 counties out of 13 previously occupied counties (B. Palmer-Ball, pers. comm., 1997). Declining in North Carolina; may be extirpated from southwest mountains (H. LeGrand, pers. comm., 1997). Habitat in South Carolina slowly declining (S. Bennett, pers. comm., 1997). In Alabama, no firm data for trends; probably declining (M. Bailey, pers. comm., 1997). Accorded threatened status in Tennessee, but no trend data exist (Redmond et al. 1990).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Population surveys are needed to determine the status of the pine snake in southeastern states and, in particular, whether the often reported low densities reflect rarity or simply crypticity. Systematic searches and long-term monitoring of populations are required to determine actual status of the pine snake across its range.

Efforts should be made to locate and delineate present populations of pine snakes; status on Forest Service lands and military reservations should be determined to take advantage of proposed management prescriptions for the red-cockaded woodpecker (PICOIDES BOREALIS).

Distribution
Help
Global Range: Southern North Carolina and South Carolina west to northern Georgia, eastern Tennessee, and southeastern Kentucky, and well south into Alabama; small disjunct colonies in southern New Jersey, west-central Virginia and adjacent West Virginia, central Kentucky, and southwest Tennessee; a larger colony in western Tennessee and adjacent southwestern Kentucky and northern Alabama. Integrades with the Florida pine snake in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama (Conant and Collins 1991).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.

Map unavailable!:
Distribution data for U.S. states and Canadian provinces is known to be incomplete or has not been reviewed for this taxon.
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, FL, GA, KY, NC, NJ, SC, TN, VA, WV

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Autauga (01001), Calhoun (01015)*, Chilton (01021)*, Colbert (01033)*, Crenshaw (01041)*, DeKalb (01049), Elmore (01051), Jackson (01071), Jefferson (01073), Lauderdale (01077)*, Shelby (01117), St. Clair (01115)*, Talladega (01121)*
GA Banks (13011), Bartow (13015), Cherokee (13057), Cobb (13067)*, Dawson (13085), Fannin (13111)*, Floyd (13115), Franklin (13119), Gilmer (13123), Gwinnett (13135)*, Habersham (13137)*, Hall (13139), Lumpkin (13187), Paulding (13223), Pickens (13227), Polk (13233), Rabun (13241)*, Stephens (13257), Union (13291), White (13311)*, Whitfield (13313)*
KY Barren (21009)*, Calloway (21035), Casey (21045), Edmonson (21061), Harlan (21095)*, Hart (21099), Lyon (21143), Marshall (21157), McCreary (21147)*, Trigg (21221), Whitley (21235)*
NC Brunswick (37019), Cherokee (37039), Cumberland (37051)*, Graham (37075)*, Harnett (37085), Hoke (37093), Montgomery (37123), Moore (37125), New Hanover (37129)*, Richmond (37153), Scotland (37165), Swain (37173)*
NJ Atlantic (34001), Burlington (34005), Camden (34007), Cape May (34009), Cumberland (34011), Gloucester (34015), Middlesex (34023), Monmouth (34025), Ocean (34029), Salem (34033)
TN Anderson (47001), Benton (47005), Blount (47009)*, Coffee (47031), Cumberland (47035), Dickson (47043), Franklin (47051), Grundy (47061), Henderson (47077), Henry (47079)*, Hickman (47081), Houston (47083), Humphreys (47085), Knox (47093)*, Lawrence (47099), Loudon (47105), Marion (47115), Monroe (47123)*, Montgomery (47125)*, Morgan (47129), Perry (47135)*, Polk (47139)*, Putnam (47141)*, Rhea (47143)*, Roane (47145), Sevier (47155)*, Shelby (47157), Stewart (47161), Sumner (47165), Van Buren (47175)*, Wayne (47181)
WV Monroe (54063)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Sandy Hook-Staten Island (02030104)+, Raritan (02030105)+, Crosswicks-Neshaminy (02040201)+, Lower Delaware (02040202)+, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+, Upper James (02080201)+*
03 New River (03020302)+*, Deep (03030003)+, Upper Cape Fear (03030004)+, Lower Cape Fear (03030005)+, Upper Pee Dee (03040104)+, Lower Pee Dee (03040201)+, Lumber (03040203)+, Little Pee Dee (03040204)+, Waccamaw (03040206)+, Coastal Carolina (03040208)+, Tugaloo (03060102)+, Broad (03060104)+, Upper Oconee (03070101)+, Upper Chattahoochee (03130001)+, Middle Chattahoochee-Lake Harding (03130002)+*, Patsaliga (03140302)+*, Conasauga (03150101)+*, Coosawattee (03150102)+, Oostanaula (03150103)+, Etowah (03150104)+, Upper Coosa (03150105)+, Middle Coosa (03150106)+*, Lower Coosa (03150107)+, Lower Tallapoosa (03150110)+, Upper Alabama (03150201)+, Cahaba (03150202)+
05 Middle New (05050002)+*, Upper Green (05110001)+, Barren (05110002)+*, Upper Cumberland (05130101)+*, South Fork Cumberland (05130104)+, Obey (05130105)+*, Collins (05130107)+, Caney (05130108)+, Lower Cumberland-Old Hickory Lake (05130201)+, Harpeth (05130204)+, Lower Cumberland (05130205)+, Red (05130206)+*
06 Lower French Broad (06010107)+*, Watts Bar Lake (06010201)+, Upper Little Tennessee (06010202)+*, Tuckasegee (06010203)+*, Lower Little Tennessee (06010204)+*, Lower Clinch (06010207)+, Emory (06010208)+, Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga (06020001)+*, Hiwassee (06020002)+, Ocoee (06020003)+*, Sequatchie (06020004)+*, Guntersville Lake (06030001)+, Wheeler Lake (06030002)+*, Upper Elk (06030003)+, Pickwick Lake (06030005)+, Bear (06030006)+*, Upper Duck (06040002)+, Lower Duck (06040003)+, Buffalo (06040004)+, Kentucky Lake (06040005)+
08 Loosahatchie (08010209)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Help
Basic Description: A large nonvenomous snake.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Help
Management Summary
Help
Biological Research Needs: Determine habitat requirements.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23Sep1997
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Clausen, M. K., and G. Hammerson

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. 2005. Conserving Alabama's wildlife: a comprehensive strategy. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. Montgomery, Alabama. 303 pages. [Available online at http://www.dcnr.state.al.us/research-mgmt/cwcs/outline.cfm ]

  • Auburn University Natural History Museum and Learning Center. Auburn Univeristy Museum Reptile and Amphibian Collection, Auburn, Alabama. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/science_math/cosam/collections/reptiles_amphibians/index.htm

  • Burger, J., and R. T. Zappalorti. 1986. Nest site selection by pine snakes, Pituophis melanoleucus, in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Copeia 1986:116-121.

  • Burger, J., and R. T. Zappalorti. 1988. Habitat use in free-ranging pine snakes, Pituophis melanoleucus, in New Jersey Pine Barrens. Herpetologica 44:48-55.

  • Collins, J. T. 1990. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. 3rd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Herpetological Circular No. 19. 41 pp.

  • Conant, R. and J. T. Collins. 1991. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 450 pp.

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Sixth edition. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular 37:1-84.

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Sixth edition. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular 37:1-84. Online with updates at: http://www.ssarherps.org/pages/comm_names/Index.php

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2012. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. 7th edition. SSAR Herpetological Circular 39:1-92.

  • Ernst, C. H., and R. W. Barbour. 1989b. Snakes of eastern North America. George Mason Univ. Press, Fairfax, Virginia. 282 pp.

  • Franz, R. 1992. Florida pine snake Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus Barbour. Pages 254-258 in P. E. Moler, editor. Rare and endangered biota of Florida. Vol. III. Amphibians and reptiles. Univ. Press of Florida.

  • Gibbons, J. W., and R. D. Semlitsch. 1991. Guide to the reptiles and amphibians of the Savannah River Site. Univ. of Georgia Press, Athens. xii + 131 pp.

  • Mirarchi, R. E., M. A. Bailey, T. M. Haggerty, and T. L. Best, editors. 2004. Alabama wildlife. Volume 3. Imperiled amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 225 pages.

  • Mirarchi, R.E., editor. 2004. Alabama Wildlife. Volume 1. A checklist of vertebrates and selected invertebrates: aquatic mollusks, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 209 pages.

  • Mount, R. H. 1975. The reptiles and amphibians of Alabama. Auburn University Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama. vii + 347 pages.

  • Mount, R. H. 1975. The reptiles and amphibians of Alabama. Auburn University Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama. vii + 347 pp.

  • Palmer, W. M., and A. L. Braswell. 1995. Reptiles of North Carolina. North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

  • Redmond, W. H., A. C. Echternacht, and A. F. Scott. 1990. Annotated checklist and bibliography of amphibians and reptiles of Tennessee (1835 through 1989). Misc. Publ. of the Center for Field Biology, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee. 173 pp.

  • Zappalorti, R. T., E. W. Johnson, and Z. Leszczynski. 1983. The ecology of the northern pine snake, Pituophis melanoleucus (Daudin) (Reptilia, Serpentes, Colubridae) in southern New Jersey, with special notes on habitat and nesting behavior. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 18:57-72.

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2018.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2018 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.