Black Pinesnake

Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi (State Status: S2; imperiled)


Black Pinesnakes are a large, federally protected constrictor species native to the pine savannas of south Mississippi. These snakes are big and may reach lengths of 6 feet. They are solid-black, thick-bodied snakes with strongly keeled scales. Young individuals may have a lighter brown or purple hues and can have a blotched pattern. Belly is solid black or bluish black. These snakes often utilize gopher tortoise burrows, stump holes, and loose soils for foraging and refuge. They are active hunters in the day, but may be active at night during warm months (Belher & King, 1979).  Pinesnakes primarily eat mammals. It is illegal to kill or harass this species. This species may hiss upon encounter but are harmless and nonvenomous.

Young Pinesnake found active in pristine piney habitat, South Mississippi

Identifying Traits

  • Thick jet-black or dark brown body.
  • Strongly keeled scales


Pine savannas


Utilizes gopher tortoise and mammal burrows, actively hunts mammals. Hisses loudly when approached or bothered. Nonvenomous


Small mammals, generally

Closeup of head, South Mississippi
Juvenile with pattern still visible, © Kevin Narum
Closeup of juvenile head, © Kevin Narum
Black Pinesnake with its mouth agape, showcasing its teeth, Mississippi, © Sara Robin
Identifying characteristics (compared to black racer) highlighted by Kevin Narum