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Common Kingsnake Lampropeltis getula


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Common Kingsnake, California subspecies
credit: Dawson

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Family: Colubridae, Colubrid Snakes view all from this family

Description Glossy black, blue-black or dark brown ground color overlaid with a series of 23-52 white chain-like rings. Single anal plate. 19-25 rows of smooth scales.

Dimensions 91.4-208.3cm. (36-82")

Subspecies Eastern - brown/black under chainlike pattern and 21 rows of scales. New Jersey through to Florida, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and Alabama.
Caifornia -Brown/black with crossbands. Oregon through California to Baja California. Also Utah and Arizona.
Florida - Brown scales, yellow at base. Crossbands form chain-like pattern. Florida.
Speckles - Brown/black scales, light crossbands. Iowa, illinois, Texas, Mississippi to Alabama.
Eastern Black - Black. White dots form chain pattern. Ohio, West Virginia, Georiga and Alabama.
Western Black - Black, light spits on scales of sides. Sonora to Mexico and Arizona.
Desert - Blackish/brown with crossbands. Texas & Arizona into Mexico.

Breeding Breeds March-June. 3-24 yellowish eggs in a clutch laid May-August, hatch inAugust-October. Hatchlings 23-30cm (9-12") long.

Habitat Rocky hillsides to swamps and marshes. Also prairies, desert and chaparral.

Range New Jersey through Florida, Oregon, California to Mexico.

Discussion Active during daytime. In hot weather becomes nocturnal. Terrestrial, sometimes hides in shrubs. Constrictor. Rattlesnakes, lizards and mice are part of its diet. Longest living was 24 years. Common belief is that it hunts venomous snakes to prevent death from their venom if bitten, which would be the outcome for humans. Dangerous as a constrictor, but can be docile even when found in the wild.