Pine Snake

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Mexican Pine Snake





last changes: Sunday, January 06, 2008

Northern Mexican Pine Snake -

Pituophis deppei jani

 Northern Bull von Holger Schnirring


The subspecies deppei jani lives in the north-eastern highland of Mexico in the northern Hidalgo up to the south eastern Coahulia, in the middle Nuevo Leon and in the western Tamaulipas. Its distribution area borders in the west to the distribution of the nominat form deppei deppei and in the north it reaches the subspecies P. c. sayi.


These snakes have yellow to orange or sometimes to average brown primary color. Head and neck are usually reddish brown to orange. The front body and the first third of the snake in some cases can be more or less white. The front body and the first third of the snake in some cases can be more or less white. The saddle markings in a row are clearly separated from each other. These are often faded in the neck and get clearer and darker towards the tail. But there are jani with black saddles in the neck, too. Then the spots fade in the middle of the body and become black towards the tail.

The genus deppei can be distinguished from colouring and from the number of saddle spots.

The mexican pine snake (d. deppei) has about 26-32 body markings. Other sources name as distinction of this subspecies more than 40 saddle spots including tail spots (Stull, 1932). All of the jani (99%) have therefore less than 40 body and tail markings (Stull, 1932). The belly is white to orange or to pale brown, the chin is leather coloured. There are a number of smaller, indistinct spots on the snakes side in the color of the saddle markings. Seldom exceed the length of nearly 2m. My adult snakes have 1,4m now. This snake is a little more slender than the ssp. d. deppei.

The scales are keeld. The Mexican species can be differenced of the northern Pituophis species by the number of the prefrontal scales: the melanoleucus/ruthveni/catenifer have 4 scales, the deppei, and the Mexican/Guatemalan species lineaticollis, only have 2 of these scales. The snout shield is av. as broad as high (Rostrale - Nasale 1:1).


The subspecies jani live in the highland levels and valleys in a limit of 1500-2200m. It occurs there in highland deserts and in light pine and oak woods.

Way of life

It lives very secretiv. Most of the found animals were catched in the evening on roadsides. Dayover it may live in rodent tunnels.


In its habitat this snake will eat mainly rodents.


This subspecies hibernates like the other members of the Pituophis. In their higher home levels it is very cold in winter.


It's hard to find something in literature about the number of eggs in habitat of this species. However, it was also reported to me by clutches in terraria of 13 eggs. My jani have 4-8 eggs per clutch. The youngster have a length at the hatch between about 35 and 45cm. The jani hatchlings have most pale brown primary color and have light brown to deep brown markings. The mostly beautiful ground colors and the final colouring of saddle markings can already be seen in young animal.

Keeping in Terraria

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