NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is asking for help taking stock of a snake often mistakenly thought to be a rattlesnake.

The TWRA posted to its social media accounts Thursday stating that it was conducting a telemetry study to learn more about Tennessee’s Northern Pinesnake population.

According to the agency, pinesnakes are threatened due to factors like habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as road mortality. They are often also mistaken for timber rattlesnakes and then killed, the TWRA stated.

Pinesnakes can hit nearby leaves with their tails to simulate the sound of a rattle, the TWRA said. Photo: TWRA/Greg Sievert

Described by the TWRA as secretive snakes that create a loud hiss when stumbled upon, Northern Pinesnakes are found in Middle and East Tennessee, except for in the Central Basin of Middle Tennessee and the further northern parts of the state. The shy snakes are non-venomous constrictors who grow on average to be between 48 and 66 inches long.

Pinesnakes typically are either of a white, yellow or light gray coloration with darker blotches around the head that turn to “saddles” or rings further down. Their preferred habitat are well-drained, sandy soil areas like pine forests. However, they also enjoy dry mountain ridge habitats and some agricultural areas.

When threatened, pinesnakes will reportedly hiss loudly and vibrate their tails against leaf litters, according to the TWRA. Their bodies will inflate, and they can raise the front of their bodies to intimidate threats before striking.

Their primary prey are small rodents, along with ground-nesting birds and eggs, the TWRA reports.

According to the TWRA, pinesnakes have the largest eggs of any snake in North America.

The TWRA asks that anyone who spots a Northern Pinesnake contact Jesse Eaker at or Mallory Tate at