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Prairie Kingsnake
Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster

Size:
  • Hatchling: 7 - 9 in.
  • Adult: 36 - 42 in.

Scalation:
  • Dorsal: 23 - 27 rows near midbody
  • Ventral: 196 - 215
  • Sub caudal: 38 - 57
  • Infra labial:9 - 11
  • Supra labial: 7 - 8
  • Anal Plate: Single

Photo by Martin Schmidt - click to enlarge

Written by John Cherry

Coloration:

    Albino's and striped forms of this animal are known and being bred in fair numbers
  • Head:

  • Normally displays a V shaped arrowhead that is lacking pattern or in the extreme opposite displays heavy patterns on the head with lines and spots.
  • Dorsal:

  • This animal occurs in dark and light phases in different areas of their range. A lighter ground color is normally present with about 60 dorsal blotches. Lateral spots and/or blotches are normally present and are of the color as the dorsal blotches.
  • Ventral:

  • White or yellowish white with square brown or tan blotches.

Behavior:

    This is a very non-aggressive species that does well in captivity. It is somewhat secretive and requires a hiding box at all times. They become favorites in most collections, because of gentleness and ease of care.

Breeding:

    Breeding in captivity is achieved in the same manner as with most colubrids using the following as a guideline. Towards the middle of October cease feeding totally, allowing at least 2 -3 weeks at normal temperature for clearing of the gut. Then gradually reduce the ambient tempeture inside the cage to the middle 50's/low 60's and maintain for a period of 3 months. Be sure and provide clean water and systematically check animals for general condition and welfare during this period. middle of the brumation cycle with good success. After brumation and the animals are brought back up to optimum temperature of 78 - 82 degrees, feeding should resume for approx. three weeks and the pair should be placed together under supervision for short periods of time until copulation can be confirmed. An egg laying chamber/box partially filled with damp vermiculite or sphagnum moss is helpful. Eggs should be removed immediately after laying and placed in damp vermiculite for the incubation period of 58 - 66 days at temperatures of 80 - 83 degrees
Range:

    Indiana to Nebraska, Mississippi River Valley through eastern Texas and into western Louisiana.

Habitat:

    This is a species of open prairies, cultivated fields, lightly wooded areas and scrubby open areas
Prey:

    In captivity these animals fair very well on a diet of lab. raised mice. Juveniles require new born pink mice, because of their small size. They are generally aggressive feeders that are easy to start. In the wild they feed on small lizards, small snakes, nestling birds with the bulk of the diet being rodents.

Gallery Photo by Jeff Barringer
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Gallery Photo by SERPENTBOY
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Gallery Photo by survey33
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Gallery Photo by Chris Harrison
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