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South Florida Mole Kingsnake
Lampropeltis calligaster occipitolineata

Size:
  • Hatchling: unknown, presumably same as L. c. rhombomaculata
  • Adult: presumably 24-36 inches

Scalation:
  • Dorsal: 21 at mid body
  • Ventral: 211 - 219
  • Sub caudal: 41 - 44
  • Infra labial: 10
  • Supra labial: 8
  • Anal Plate: single

Photo by Douglas H. Mong - click to enlarge

Written by Deron Hartman

Coloration:

  • Head:

  • A post-ocular stripe the same color as the dorsal blotches running from the eye to the angle of the jaw is present. Two, long blotches on the back of the head and neck help to form the V-shape on the top of the head, similar to that of L. c. calligaster.

  • Dorsal:

  • The ground color is grayish to tanish orange with 60-79 round, oval, or odd shaped red to red-orange blotches edged with black.

  • Ventral:

  • The belly is cream colored with brownish-black blotches.

Behavior:

    The south Florida mole king is an extremely secretive snake generally considered to be fossorial in habit. It is the most recently described member of the genus Lampropeltis, being described in 1987. Mole kings in general have been collected both during the day and at night.

Breeding:

    Nothing is known of breeding habits or clutch size. Presumably the same as L. c. rhombomaculata. As with other Florida snakes it does not hibernate due to the temperatures in south and central Florida. A cooling down period of 2-3 months with temps. between 55-65 F should be required in order for successful breeding to take place.
Range:

    Specimens are known from Okeechobee county, one from northern Brevard county and one from Desoto county. Of the original 4 specimens, 3 were from Okeechobee county and a photo of the 4th from northern Brevard county. Their range probably also includes parts of Highlands, Glades, St. Lucie, Indian River and Osceola counties within suitable habitat.

Habitat:

    In northern Florida mole kings L. c. rhombomaculata have been found in pinelands and they seem to like open fields such as pastureland. Of the original three specimens from Okeechobee county, two were found on paved roads near grassy areas and one was found in the parking lot of a convenience store.
Prey:

    Presumably the same as the other subspecies. Most likely lizards, small nestling rodents, snakes and possibly frogs and toads.
Note:

    There is very little data available on this subspecies both in the wild and in captivity. Further study is greatly needed in order to help determine the exact range, habitat preferences, genetics and to gather breeding information of this extremely secretive snake. The scale counts given above are based on two DOR specimens from Okeechobee county that are in my collection.


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