He recommended people share photographs, if possible, due to the easy confusion with other species.
One such species is the timber rattlesnake, which has chevrons, whereas the pine snake has more of a saddle pattern. Timber rattlesnake patterns are more of a band; the pine snake patterns are more broken up. Unlike timber rattlesnakes, pine snakes have no pattern near the head. Pinesnakes are also more cream colored compared to timber rattlesnakes which are dark gray.
“The main thing is the pattern is more distinct on the timber rattlesnake,” Flock said. Many timber rattlesnakes also have reddish or rusty stripes that go down their backs.
One source of confusion is that pine snakes, like other non-rattlesnake species, can make a rattling sound by moving around in leaves. However, they tend to do it less often than just leaving.
“Pine snakes tend to be a little less aggressive. They tend to just get away from people,” Flock said. People sometimes also confuse them for gray rat snakes.
Gray rat snakes are mostly darker gray or even black, although the patterns can be pretty close. Pine snakes don’t have patterns around their heads. Gray rat snakes have patterns that go to the top of their heads.