RALEIGH, N.C. – Practicing social distancing by taking long walks in wooded areas? If so, biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are asking you to report any sightings of pine snakes you see to the agency.
Biologists want to learn more about the distribution of northern pine snakes in southwestern North Carolina. Pine snakes are large, non-venomous snakes that spend most of their time underground. While spotting one is no easy task given their burrowing tendencies, spring is the best time to see one as they are more likely to be above ground this time of year, seeking mates and food, basking in the sun, or moving from burrow to burrow.
Because of their size, pine snakes are fairly easy to spot when above ground. They typically range between 4 to 5 feet long, although some can get as large as 7 ½ feet. They have a white, tan or yellowish background color with dark brown or black markings that begin as heavy mottling on the head before gradually becoming distinct blotches toward the tail.
In North Carolina, pine snakes are found mostly in the Sandhills and the southern Coastal Plain, although there are also several confirmed records from Cherokee and Swain counties. Pine snakes prefer open areas within pine-oak forests with well-drained and sandy soils.
People who see a pine snake in the wild are asked to send an email to
A photo (required)
Date and time the snake was observed
The location (GPS coordinates are best, but a detailed location description is acceptable)
Anyone who spots a pine snake in the wild should admire the reptile from a distance and not attempt to pick one up or touch one, said Sam McCoy, a wildlife technician with the Commission. While the