Florida Pine Snake Status Assessment
The Florida pin esnake (Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus) was listed as state threatened in 2015 after completion of a status review and development of Florida’s Imperiled Species Management Plan. It was petitioned for federal listing as threatened in 2012, prompting a 2013−2016 status assessment. FWC staff compiled 451 recent (2000−2016) records from museums, databases, road and drift-fence surveys, and a reporting webpage. Recent records exist from 45 counties and 97 conservation lands, which account for 68.4% of all recent records. These records were used to create a Maxent potential habitat model that determined that conservation lands contain 44% of high-quality potential habitat within its range. The Panhandle contains 41.5% of high-quality habitat. Eglin Air Force Base, Ocala National Forest, and Blackwater River State Forest contain 63.1% of all identified high-quality habitat on conservation lands. Over 30 records came from both Blackwater River State Forest and Apalachicola National Forest, areas with extensive sandhill and upland pine forest. The pine snake still occurs over much of its historical range but has always been uncommon or absent from the southern peninsula because of unsuitable habitat. Little information is available on abundance, but we trapped 31 pine snakes along drift fences. Primary threats are habitat loss, habitat degradation (e.g., fire suppression and silviculture), and fragmentation plus road mortality and killing by humans and their pets.