Florida King Snake

Florida King Snake

Reptiles

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: Florida king snake
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
FAMILY: Colubridae
GENUS SPECIES: Lampropeltis (shining, beautiful scales) getula floridana

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Brown to dull yellow background with 40 or more creamy-yellow crossbands; scales between crossbands start as black and pale with age; degenerate lateral chain-like pattern; ventral surface exhibits checkerboard pattern
SIZE: 120-150 cm (4-5 ft); maximum recorded length is 176.5 cm (69.5 in.)
WEIGHT: No data
DIET: Small mammals, eggs, and other reptiles include snakes; known to exhibit cannabilism
INCUBATION: 55-65 days
CLUTCH SIZE 3-30 eggs
SEXUAL MATURITY: 2 years
LIFE SPAN: 10-15 years
RANGE: Florida peninsula (with Volusia county at its northern boundary) excluding the Keys; not found outside of Florida
HABITAT: Florida peninsula (with Volusia county at its northern boundary) excluding the Keys; not found outside of Florida
POPULATION: GLOBAL No data
STATUS: IUCN No data
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed

FUN FACTS

1. Like many reptiles, the incubation temperature of the snake's eggs may determine the offspring's sex; warmer temperatures usually favor males, while cool temperatures favor females.
2. Kingsnakes use quick, jerky movements so that their bands flash, startling predators. Their bright colors signal danger and often confuse predators, making these snakes hard to follow.
3. Kingsnakes are known for eating other snakes - including venomous species. Kingsnakes are apparently immune to the venom of the snake species upon which they prey.
4. Kingsnakes kill their prey via constriction.
5. The Florida kingsnake (L. g. floridana) may interbreed with the Eastern kingsnake (L. g. getula).

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Many other important predators (i.e. birds-of-prey) feed on young snakes. This means that snakes fulfill roles as both predators and prey in regional food chains. Kingsnakes are also valuable in their role of curbing rodent populations, especially those near human settlement.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Areste, Manuel and Cebrián, Rafael. Snakes of the World. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2003.

Coborn, John. The Atlas of Snakes of the World. New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications, inc. 1991.

Markel, R. and R. D. Bartlette. Kingsnakes and Milksnakes. TFH Publications, Inc. 1990.

Mehrtens, John M. Living Snakes of the World. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1987.

kingsnake.com

flmnh.ufl.edu/natsci/herpetology/fl-guide/Lampropeltisgfloridana.htm