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Prairie Kingsnake Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster


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Prairie Kingsnake, striped individual
credit: LA Dawson/CCSA

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Family: Colubridae, Colubrid Snakes view all from this family

Description 30-56" (76.2-142.7 cm). Tan, grayish-brown, or yellowish-brown above with black-edged, dark brown to reddish-brown or greenish blotches down back and 2 alternating rows of smaller, less conspicuous spots on sides. Interspaces between blotches about equal in size to blotch. Pattern of older specimens may be lost or obscured by dark pigment; some develop 4 longitudinal dusky stripes. V-shaped arrowheadlike marking on crown of head. Belly white to yellowish, clouded or spotted with brown. Scales smooth, in 25 or 27 rows.

Habitat Open fields, cultivated farmland, barnyards, pastures, prairies, rocky hillsides, open woodland.

Range W. Indiana and w. Kentucky southwest to the Gulf in sw. Louisiana, west to se. Nebraska, e. Kansas, Oklahoma, and e. Texas.

Discussion There are three subspecies of this kingsnake: Prairie Kingsnake, which occupies the western portion of the species range; Mole Kingsnake, found to the east; and South Florida Mole Kingsnake, of the Florida peninsula. Prairie and Mole Kingsnakes overlap from w. Tennessee to c. Mississippi.