Archived Outdoors

Report pine snake sightings

Pine Snake. Jeff Hall photo Pine Snake. Jeff Hall photo

Pine snake sightings are wanted as part of an effort to help biologists learn more about the reptiles’ distribution in southwestern North Carolina. 

Pine snakes are large, non-venomous snakes that spend most of their time underground — meaning that spotting one is no easy task. However, spring is the best time to see one aboveground as they seek mates and food, bask in the sun or move from burrow to burrow. 

Pine snakes typically range in size between 4 and 5 feet, though some can be as large as 7 feet. They have a white, tan or yellowish background color with dark brown or black markings that begin as heavy mottling on the head and gradually become distinct blotches toward the tail. They prefer open areas within pine-oak forests with well-drained and sandy soils. In North Carolina, they’re mostly found in the Sandhills and southern Coastal Plain, but there have been several confirmed sightings in Cherokee and Swain counties. 

People who spot a pine snake should send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. that includes a photo, time and date of the observation and a location. GPS coordinates are preferred, but a detailed location description is acceptable. 

Pine snakes are protected in North Carolina and cannot be taken from the wild without a permit. 

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