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Kingsnakes of Louisiana

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Louisiana has abundant wildlife, including reptiles such as snakes and turtles. All are welcome in Yvonne's backyard wildlife habitat.

Speckled or common kingsnakes are excellent climbers.

Speckled or common kingsnakes are excellent climbers.

Reptile: Lampropeltis species, Beautiful and Beneficial Snakes

Since we were children we have welcomed the gentle, non-venomous reptile, the King snake into our yard. On this page you will find information about and photographs of the Kingsnake species that inhabit Louisiana.

Kingsnakes are constrictors that live in many habitats, but seem to prefer ridges and levees that border wet areas. These attractive reptiles will kill and eat poisonous snakes, but their most common prey is mice and rats. Members of the Lampropeltis species are very beneficial snakes and are friends of the farmers and gardeners alike. King snakes should be prized and protected from harm because, like other snakes, they are an important link in the food chain.

We hope that this page will encourage many people to welcome this beautiful creature into their habitats.

Speckled Kingsnake Poster

This photo was taken in our backyard in Baton Rouge, LA by the author.

This photo was taken in our backyard in Baton Rouge, LA by the author.

Louisiana Kingsnakes

There are 5 different species of Kingsnakes in Louisiana and a similar looking species, the Scarlet Snake. The photo below was found in Dundee, Harold A. and Douglas A. Rossman's, The Amphibians and Reptiles of Louisiana and shows:

A. Common Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getulus

B. Prairie Kingsnake, Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster

C. Mole Kingsnake, Lampropeltis calligaster rhombomaculata

D. Louisiana milk snake, Lampropeltis triangulum amaura

E. Scarlet Kingsnake, Lampropeltis triangulum elapsoides

F. Scarlet Snake, Cemphora coccinea

Louisiana Kingsnakes

Louisiana Kingsnakes

Speckled or Common Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getulus

The most common kingsnake in Southeastern Louisiana, where we reside, is the common or speckled kingsnake. We have had many encounters with this lovely and gentle creature and we welcome them in our habitat. Kingsnakes are constrictors, which means they wrap their bodies around their prey and squeeze until the prey is dead. One unique fact about kingsnakes is their ability to overpower and kill venomous snakes without succumbing to their venom.

Kingsnake Eating Copperhead by Michael Roedel

Kingsnake Eating Copperhead by Michael Roedel

This great photo of a Speckled Kingsnake killing and eating a venomous Copperhead was taken by Michael Roedel. Click on the photo to go to Flickr to see a larger image or on the link to view more of Michael's outstanding snake photographs.

Kingsnakes primarily eat mice and rats so they are handy to have in the garden or in the yard. If you encourage Kingsnakes to inhabit your area, the rodent population will decrease.

Kingsnakes are egg layers and lay a clutch of from 5 to 17 eggs in the spring.

Speckled or Common Kingsnake

Speckled or Common Kingsnake

Some Facts About Speckled Kingsnakes

All kingsnakes are egg layers. They mate in spring and lay from 3-24 eggs in early summer in a moist protected spot such as rotting logs or stumps. The young hatch from 2 to 2 1/2 months after the eggs are laid.

Besides venomous snakes, their prey includes lizards, rodents, reptile eggs, birds and their eggs and also small turtles. Kingsnakes hunt prey primarily through smell, but vision is also used.

Because of their large size, King snakes only fear large predators. When threatened they will vibrate their tail and go into a striking position. A musky liquid will also be released. All these are defensive actions and king snakes are usually docile if handled gently.

Herping Video

Prairie Kingsnake, Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster

Prairie King Snake print by scenro on Zazzle

These gentle, attractive constrictors are more common in the western part of Louisiana. For more information check out the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries site.

Young Prairie King Snake

The spots on young prairie kingsnakes are more pronounced.

The spots on young prairie kingsnakes are more pronounced.

Herping With Dylan: Prairie Kingsnake

Mole Kingsnake, Lampropeltis calligaster rhombomaculata

Mole kingsnakes are sometimes difficult to identify from the other species. The Florida Museum has a handy Snake Identification Key for those that inhabit the Southeastern Coastal area.

Mole Kingsnake Video

Louisiana milk snake, Lampropeltis triangulum amaura

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries has more information about this attractive reptile.

Louisiana Milk Snake Video

Red Milk Snake

Red milk snakes are beautiful non-venomous reptiles.

Red milk snakes are beautiful non-venomous reptiles.

Video Comparing a Louisiana Milk Snake to a Coral Snake

When trying to tell the non-venomous, the scarlet king snake, Louisiana milk snake and scarlet snake from the venomous, coral snake, always remember the children's rhyme:

Red on yellow, kill a fellow

Red on black, come on back.

When the red stripe touches a black stripe, the snake is a king snake. When the red and yellow stripes touch, the snake is a coral snake. You'll find more information comparing three of the look-alikes at the Florida Museum site.

Scarlet King Snake

kingsnakes-2

Scarlet kingsnakes are often killed because they are confused with the venomous coral snake so they are becoming less common in the wild. You'll find more information about the scarlett king snake at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries site.

Snakes of the Southeast

Scarlet Snake

Scarlett snakes are another of the "look-alike" species.

Scarlett snakes are another of the "look-alike" species.

Scarlet Snake, Cemphora coccinea

The scarlet snake is a seldom seen nocturnal species. More information can be found at Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries.

Speckled Kingsnake

Speckled Kingsnake

These reptiles are good climbers because they are constrictors and can wrap around small branches.

Links to More About Louisiana Snakes

  • Rat Snakes in Louisiana
    Rat snakes are non-venomous reptiles that are good climbers and eat rodents and other vermin. They are found all over Louisiana.
  • Ribbon and Garter Snakes
    Ribbon and Garter snakes are small, non-venomous, mild-tempered reptiles that eat insects and small rodents. Here you'll find photos, information and books about these garden beneficial snakes.
  • Snakes of Louisiana
    Snakes are an important link in the food chain. Here you will find many photos of venomous and non-venomous Louisiana snakes as well as information and links to most.

© 2008 Yvonne L B

Scribble a line to us.

PhotoBuff on October 19, 2013:

We get nothing like these where I live. Just a few garter and milk snakes. These pix and videos are awesome. www.learnphotographyathome.com

merleannw on June 27, 2013:

I love snakes. Thank you for this great lens

anonymous on September 09, 2012:

I lost a dog to a rattlesnake bite last year. The next day, I walked in the mowed grass and a King Snake was stretched across the grass in my back yard. I knew I had one King living close to the house. I'm not paranoid of rattle snakes. I just keep my grass cut and appreciate the King.

ForestBear LM on July 04, 2011:

I enjoyed your lens.Very interesting, I didn't know anything about the King Snake. Thank you

Goldenpig999 on June 30, 2011:

I have come across several of your lens all of them presented great information this on included. I hava had california kingsnakes before.

anonymous on April 01, 2011:

Nice Squidoo. Very enjoyable to read. Chris

Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on December 24, 2010:

Beautifully crafted lens and I learned a lot on this king snake. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year! **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

anonymous on December 09, 2010:

These are beautiful snakes and I am at peace with any creature that will help control rats, mice and poisonous snakes. Of course, I even find the poisonous ones beautiful, because they are. I always learn so much from your lenses. Wonderfully done!

darciefrench lm on November 02, 2010:

Such an engaging lens- angel blessed.

LoKackl on June 16, 2010:

Way cool photos! Beautifully done. SquidAngel Blessed.

anonymous on April 17, 2010:

Well executed lens, and informative. Well done.

anonymous on December 23, 2008:

Ewwwwww, sorry I so hate snakes, they just totally creep me out, but wait, I love your lens! - Kathy

ElizabethJeanAl on October 25, 2008:

Welcome to the Totally Awesome Lenses Group.

Lizzy

ElizabethJeanAl on October 25, 2008:

Now this snake I've never seen. I'm more familiar with the rattlers of the midwest.

Very informative lens.

Lizzy

Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on September 07, 2008:

The Alligators int eh Swamp have their eyes on you and for such a delicious lens they are sending you virtual rats and mice to fatten you up.

5 Stars and favored!

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