MEXICAN PINE SNAKE, Mexican Bull Snake, Culebra Sorda Mexicana or Cincuate Sorda- Pituophis deppei deppei

Below is a Pituophis deppei deppei intergrade with Pituophis catenifer affinis 

wild from Yecora, Sonora, Mexico. Note the 4 prefrontals of 

P. catenifer affinis and the narrow longer head and the markings of P. deppei deppei.

Photo by the cowmeow

 Photo (1) by Pat Briggs Courtesy John Ginter


 Pituophis deppei deppei

Photo by Patrick H. Briggs Courtesy Tom Moisi




Mexican Pine Snake (Dumeril 1853)

(Pituophis deppei deppei)

By Patrick Briggs






The Mexican Pine Snake Pituophis deppei deppei is named after Ferdinand Deppe who was a naturalist, explorer, and painter who travelled to Mexico in 1827. The Mexican Pine Snake or "Alarcan" as it had been called in the past in Mexico is a creature that has progressively become more popular among herpetoculturists for the past few years and is now very common. The blotches are black or dark brown anteriorly and near the tail, but in the midbody region, they are brown outlined with darker brown on light ground coloration. Earlier records, including Stull's geographical  range, contradict current records of the deppei range. Currently, its range is known to occur from southeastern Chihuahua across Coahuila to central Nuevo Leon south to central Oaxaca in Mexico, and apparently , is absent along the coast. (Earlier records such as Stull 1940, may have included the P. c. affinis with P. deppei extending its range completely westward to Gulf of California and north to southeastern California and southwestern Texas.)  Perhaps, some hybrids with prominent characters of P. d. deppei may have confused the range studies or maybe the ophidian form better fit for the that region has currently overwhelmed the other.

Mexican Pine Snakes like many Pituophis vary in color and body pattern. Specimens from specific locations are known for their unique characteristics for their respective region. For example, Durango Mountain specimens usually sport high contrast with striking beauty. (See the photo images labeled 1, 2, & 3 ) Mexican Pine Snakes' ground color is usually cream colored, white, yellowish, buff, tan, or even, olive with orange highlights anteriorly. Pituophis deppei deppei is marked by 43-59  defined dark black or brown quadrangular blotches, saddle shape markings, spots, or bars above including the tail that are 2-8 scales long and 10-13 scales wide (32-44 on the body only). The light spaces between them are 4 or less scales in length. This differs in the number of blotches above and in the number of interspace scales between the upper blotches with the northeastern race, Pituophis deppei  jani which has only 29-35 blotches and interspaces of 5 or more scales in length between them. Toward the rear of the body, the blotches are somewhat quadrangular, not fusing at the sides. The secondary spots sometimes referred to as intercalaries run along the sides or laterals of the body. The coloration of these secondaries generally parallels the blotches above in color. The head and throat are both pale with some dots above on the head, and although there usually is no dark band between the eyes, there are some dashes, bars and lines or suture marks that border the labials of the mouth and sometimes small marks or dots on the posterior labials. The anterior venter is usually immaculate,  but spots on both sides of the ventrals increase posteriorly. Unlike many Pituophis forms, the prefrontal scutellation of this form is 2 instead of 4. Mexican Pine Snakes possess 211-233 ventrals and 52-79 subcaudals.

The mandibular teeth number 20-22 and become progressively smaller towards the back of the mouth. The maxillaries number 18 and also decrease slightly toward the rear. The smaller palatine teeth are from 9-11, whereas the pterygoids are even smaller than the palatine and number from 8-14 also slightly decreasing posteriorly.


 A Spanish article on this Pituophis form: Click here- 


                                                     Scutellation of Pituophis deppei deppei

                                               Midbody Scales    27-31                        

                                               Supralabials          7-9  (4th & 5th, 3rd & 4th, or 5th & 6th enter eye)                                        

                                               Ventrals                  211-233                      

                                               Infralabials             10-14

                                               Caudals                   52-79                          

                                               Preoculars              1-2

                                               Postoculars            2-4

                                               Loreal                       sometimes present

                                               Frontal                      undivided and not creased

                                               Prefrontals               2

                                               Azygos                     sometimes present between prefrontals and preoculars

                                               Rostral                      broad as or broader than long and extending deep into internasals

                                               Anal                           single (entire)


What's this below? It's a hybrid Pituophis catenifer sayi x Pituophis deppei jani.

Photo by Patrick Houston Briggs courtesy Pete Marshall



   Below is the mother of the hybrid above.

Photo by Patrick H. Briggs courtesy Pete Marshall




  The culebra sorda:[email protected]/2604220777/

Hypo deppei:

A significant breeder of certain Pituophis:






 [email protected]/2604220777/

For Advanced herpetoculture people only see the paper on the site address below:






The Common Mexican pine snake (Pituophis deppei deppei)

Photo by Patrick H. Briggs Courtesy Tom Moisi


 Mexican Pine Snake
Photo below by Patrick Houston Briggs




 Photo by Patrick Houston Briggs Courtesy Thomas Moisi



Photo by Patrick Houston Briggs Courtesy John Ginter



 Photo 3 by Patrick H. Briggs Courtesy Tom Moisi



 Photo by Patrick H. Briggs Courtesy Thomas Moisi




Photo Slide by Patrick Houston Briggs Courtesy Lloyd Lemke (Neonate Deppei)

Lloyd was one of the very first keepers to produce captive bred deppei stock and the parent stock he had came from legally caught animals.




Mexican Pine Snake


Pituophis deppei deppei 

Photo by Pat Briggs 

 Pat Briggs Old School conventional Slide Photographing a  Long-Nosed Leopard Lizard with F-4 Nikon





 Pat Briggs at home in the garage with his youngest daughter Stephanie about 2004 with Gator.







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