Eastern King Snake Lampropeltis getula

Did you know?

>> Kingsnakes are large-bodied snakes with adults randing from 36 to 60 inches in length. They are powerful constrictors.

>> The “kingsnake” name refers to the fact that other snakes, including venomous species, are a principle food source for the kingsnake. They also eat rodents, lizards, birds and eggs, and turtle eggs.

>> “Chain” kingsnake is another popular name for the Eastern kingsnake. The belly has scales partially colored in the same color as its dorsal bands to create the chain effect.

>> The Eastern kingsnake is mainly terrestrial and active during the day. They like to hide under things. In the summer months individuals may be found moving at night. They are often found near or around water.

>> Like all snakes, they give off a smelly musk when captured by a predator. They will also vibrate their tail which can sound like a rattle in dry leaves.

>> Kingsnakes have a tolerance to the venom of native venomous snakes

General Information on Eastern Kingsnakes


Kingsnakes have smooth dorsal scales and a shiny appearance. The typical Eastern kingsnake is black-bodied with thin yellow to pale bands all the way down its body, forming a chainlike pattern. There can be a variance to the pattern in the width of the bands as well as the color, sometimes almost white.


Southern New Jersey to Northern Florida, west to the Appalachians. Other subspecies are found through the Florida peninsula and west of the Appalachians.


Eastern kingsnakes are habitat generalists existing in a variety of locations. The Eastern kingsnake may be found in almost any habitat within its range, and often in the vicinity of water.


Breeding takes place from March-May. In the early summer, 3-29 eggs are laid. Hatchlings are born approximately 5-8 inches (12.7-20.3 cm) in length and they hatch in late summer.


The Eastern kingsnake feeds on other snakes, lizards, frogs, rodents, turtle eggs, and birds and their eggs. It eats venomous snakes such as copperheads and rattlesnakes. It is even known to be cannibalistic.