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Eastern Kingsnake
Chain Kingsnake

Lampropeltis getula getula

Size:
  • Hatchling: 8 - 12 in.
  • Adult: 48 - 84 in.(normal)

Scalation:
  • Dorsal: 21 at mid body
  • Ventral: 200 - 223
  • Sub caudal: 37 - 57
  • Infra labial: 9 - 10
  • Supra labial: 6 - 8
  • Anal Plate: Single

Columbia County, Florida
gallery photo by foxturtle - click to enlarge


Written by Deron Hartman

Coloration:

Head:
A blunt shaped head that is brown to black with white or cream colored markings.

Dorsal:
Ground color varies from brown to black with 20-45 white or cream colored crossbands in a chain like pattern. Individuals found in a small area of southern Georgia often have a purple ground color with yellow crossbands.

L. g. sticticeps (problematic)- Known as the Outer Banks Kingsnake. General pattern is the same as L. g. getula but with a band of light centered scales in-between the white chain pattern. L. g. sticticeps is considered by some to be subspecies.

Ventral:
The belly is mostly brown or black with varying amounts of white or cream colored blotches.

Behavior:

The eastern king is mainly diurnal but will often move at night during the hottest parts of the year when the temperatures are too hot for them to move during the day. They are secretive often being found under logs or in trash piles in a variety of habitats and are occasionally found crossing roads. Newly caught and juvenile animals often bite but calm down quickly and adapt well to captivity making great pets. They feed readily on mice and rats and are long lived hardy snakes. They should be kept on newspaper or wood shavings with a hide box and water bowl.

Breeding:

Breeding is pretty straight forward. A 2-3 month cooling down period with temperatures ranging from 50-60 is required in order to breed this species. Breeding usually takes place from May to late June with anywhere from 6-20 eggs being laid from June to August. Incubation in this species lasts from 55-62 days.

Range:

Found from southern New Jersey south through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, eastern and southeastern Alabama and north Florida. Found in pure form in Florida mostly in the panhandle region south to around the Ocala area. Intergrades widely with L. g. floridana throughout much of Florida and its genetic influence is seen as far south as the southern end of Lake Okeechobee. Also intergrades with L. g. goini in the Apalachicola region of Florida. It also intergrades with L. g. holbrooki in parts of Alabama and with L. g. nigra in parts of Georgia and Alabama. Lampropeltis getula are also found on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and are considered by some to be a subspecies, L. g. sticticeps.

Habitat:

They occur in hardwood forests, oak hammocks, pinelands, bottomlands, swamps, tidal wetlands and around farmlands.

Prey:

Eastern kings feed on a variety of animals including frogs, toads, lizards, rodents, birds, eggs and snakes including venomous species.


Columbia County, Florida
Gallery Photo by foxturtle
Click to Enlarge

Gallery Photo by kingrius
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South Georgia
Gallery Photo by BlueKing
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Gallery Photo by Thomas Davis
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South Georgia
Gallery Photo by Will Still
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Gallery Photo by BobL
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Mecklenburg County, NC
Gallery Photo by orchidspider
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Burlington County, N.J.
Gallery Photo by Will Still
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