Thursday, April 24, 2008

King Snake

The Eastern Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula) is justly named! Not only does this constrictor eat rodents, birds and turtle eggs, but it eats other snakes!  This snake is immune to the venom of pit vipers and readily eats copperheads, cottonmouths and rattlesnakes.  That makes it the king of snakes.

The Eastern Kingsnake is jet black with either yellow or white chain-like patterns on its body. This pattern gives the snake its other common name, the Chain Snake.  This individual appears to be ready to shed its skin and is therefore is somewhat dull in color.

Although the snake is predominately terrestrial and thrives in varied habitats, it can be found in areas that border water, such as river or stream banks or swamp borders.  The individual in the image was spotted by the Knightsville Elementary School bus drivers as it lay behind the railroad tie at the end of a bus parking slot.  Just beyond that point at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest is where the swamp begins, so this snake was right where it should be expected.  Active almost exclusively during the day, this snake is nonetheless secretive and can often be found hiding under the cover of boards, logs or other suitable shelter.

Once again, the saying, "The only good snake is a dead snake!" is disproved.  If you're squimish when it comes to snakes, you have to love the venomous-snake-eating Eastern Kingsnake! 

Image by Mark Musselman

No comments: