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Rare Snakes & Unusual Snake Patterns

Gray Rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta spiloides). 
From roughly the Suwannee River to the Perdido River the Gray Rat snake occurs in Florida.  On the eastern edge of this supspecies range intergradtion with the Yellow Rat subspecies occurs and this mixed race is referred to as the Gulf Hammock Rat snake.  These snakes are a mix of blothces, with gray and yellow coloring, and some striping. 
  From roughly the Apalachicola River to the Blackwater River the purest and perhaps the most attractive forms of the Gray Rat snake occurs.  These snakes are a beautiful mix of light gray coloring, with darker gray or light black blotches.
  However, very little is known or documented about the Gray Rat snake on its western edge of its range in northwest Florida.  During 2009 and 2010 I found several Gray Rat snakes in the Big Lagoon and Perdido Key areas, to about Orange Beach Alabama, that were an unusual mix of colors and patterns.  These snakes somewhat resembled the Gulf Hammock race, but were much more striking in appearance and coloration.  Perhaps influence from the western, Texas Rat snake subspecies occurs here.  What is further interesting is that I also found the typical gray color phase in areas where I also found what I will entitle the "Perdido" phase. 
  I have posted photos of a subadult snake below that I have kept in captivity since the middle of 2009.  What is also interesting is that as this snake matures its head becomes much more pure gray in color, while the rest of its body maintains the yellow and green coloration, with darker blotches.
(Below) "Perdido" phase of the Gray Rat snake.  Collected in the Big Lagoon area of Perdido Key.



Black Pine snakes  (Pituophis melanoluecus lodingi)
  Throughout most of northwest Florida the Florida Pine snake (Pituophis melanoluecus mugitus) occurs.  However, in approximately Santa Rosa County, westward through Escambia County, much more dark, to nearly black forms of the Pine snake are found.  These occur as an intergradition into the Black Pine snake subspecies.  In Baldwin County Alabama very "black" forms of the Pine snake occur which range westward through southern Mississippi.
  Below I have posted photos of two Pine snakes I documented in Baldwin County Alabama in 2009 and 2010.  The first snake was a large road-killed animal I documented in 2009, that was nearly totally black, except for its tail that was lighter in color and blotched like the Florida Pine snake. 
  In 2010, less than ten miles away, I found the second live, large snake that was extremely black in coloration! 
  I have not listed the exact locality data of these snakes because of my fear of commercial collectors and pet trade individuals over-collecting these snakes out of greed!  It should also be remembered that the Black Pine snake is protected by State and Federal law. 
  The Black Pine snake is perhaps one of the most beautiful snakes in North America and the most unique subspecies of Pine and Gopher snakes!


(Above & below) A large Black Pine snake docmented in Baldwin County, Alabama.



(Above right) The large Black Pine snake from the top two photos!  Baldwin County, Alabama.
(Above & below right) A road-killed Black Pine snake.  Baldwin County Alabama.  Note the overall dark coloration, but the blotched tail. 



Pg. 9 Karls Appreciation Page