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Eastern Kingsnake

Lampropeltis getula getula


Eastern kingsnakes are large, up to 48 inches long with shiny-black, smooth-scaled snakes with white or yellow chain-link bands that cross the back and connect along the sides. This species is also referred to as the Chain Kingsnake. Snakes from the Coastal Plain have wide bands compared with those from the mountains that may have very thin bands or be nearly completely black. Eastern Kingsnakes have a short stout head and small beady eyes, and an undivided anal plate. Kingsnakes have one of the largest geographic ranges of any North American snake species; they are found throughout the eastern United States north to New Jersey. There are three subspecies of Lampropeltis getula. Their coloration is variable across their range. Most kingsnakes in Georgia and South Carolina belong to the Eastern subspecies (L. getula getula). Two other subspecies approach our region. The Black Kingsnake (L. g. nigra), which lacks yellow or white crossbands, is found in the north-central United States, including mountainous areas in northwest Georgia. The Speckled Kingsnake (L. g. holbrooki), found on the Gulf Coast from central Alabama to Texas, has a dark background coloration speckled with yellow or white. Partially speckled color variants are also found in the Apalachicola region of the Florida panhandle and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Eastern Kingsnakes are active during the day. They are strong constrictors and consume a variety of prey including snakes, lizards, rodents, birds, and especially turtle eggs. They are resistant to the venom of pit-vipers and eat Copperheads, Water Mocassins, and rattlesnakes. This species mates in the spring and males bite the neck of females while mating. Females lay 3-24 eggs under debris or in rotting logs in early summer and eggs hatch in August-September.


Eastern Kingsnakes are found in all areas of Georgia and South Carolina. They live in many habitats including hardwood and pine forests, bottomlands and swamps, tidal wetlands, and even farmlands and suburban areas. This species is terrestrial, but inhabits areas close to water.


It is illegal to kill, capture or harass nonvenomous snakes in Georgia. Permits are required to possess any of Georgia's non-venomous snakes

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Spotted by

Winder, Georgia, USA

Spotted on Jun 12, 2015
Submitted on Jun 12, 2015

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