(Lapropeltis getulus splendida)
Size: Up to 6.5 feet but more commonly around 3-4 feet.
Range in Texas: Throughout west and central Texas and as far south as Dimmit County. In the Eastern portions of its range interbreeding occurs with the Speckled Kingsnake (L.g.holbrooki).
Comments: Like all "common kingsnakes", the Desert Kingsnake is the mortal enemy of Rattle snakes. If you've ever watched a Kingsnake and Rattlesnake interact, you will notice that the Rattlesnake takes on an entirely different disposition when in their presence. A Kingsnake eats Rattlers just like it does any other snake. They bite it, and kill it by constriction. Rattlesnake venom seems to have no effect on Kingsnakes. They also eat lizards, mice, rats, birds, and eggs.
The Desert Kingsnake is a somewhat common snake in Hudspeth County. The ones that I have found in Hudspeth tend to have gold flecking with black rather than the white flecking that I have found in some other locations. I have found several with the solid black heads or "sock heads". I have found one with solid black on its fore half showing no other markings half its length. These snakes will sometimes musk you when first encountered but rarely bite. They calm down very well in captivity and most are pigs when it comes to eating. When some one locally comes to me and asks what type of local snake would be a good snake for a beginner, I usually suggest this snake due to its good disposition and ease of care. Click on the thumbnail for a close-up.