Description: The Eastern Kingsnake is a long black snake with smooth scales and yellow/whitish chain-link markings extending down the back, connecting on the sides. Adults can reach lengths of up to five feet. The belly is dark like the dorsum with pale blotches. Juveniles resemble adults in appearance.
Natural History: This snake is most active during the day and during the spring and summer. It can be found foraging on the forest floor in a wide variety of terrestrial habitats. They are constrictors and, as their name suggests, they are ferocious predators of other snakes. They will even consume pit vipers such as copperheads and rattlesnakes. They have a built up immunity to pit viper venom and can sustain bites from these snakes. They will also eat lizards, small mammals, birds, and reptile eggs (especially turtle eggs).
Similar Species: There are several other black snakes in this snakes range, but none have the yellow/whitish chain-link markings extending down the back.
Distribution: This snake is found along the east coast of the United States. From New Jersey down to Florida and then west to Alabama.
Contributed by Jake Zadik (2/24/2020)