Facts about Prairie Kingsnakes. "Scientific name for Prairie Kingsnake is Lampropeltis calligaster" The Prairie Kingsnake are found in Midwestern and southwestern United States. Prairie kingsnakes are medium in size snakes from the family of colubridae. They can grow up to 42 inches (106 cm) in adulthood.
The Prairie Kingsnake are very much confused with copperhead’s snakes because of their coloration. But for copperheads the markings on the back are hourglass where as for the prairie kingsnakes they are circular.
Prairie Kingsnakes are found in brownish gray, tan and greenish gray colors. Their back and sides has brown, red or greenish brown blotches. Their bellies are yellowish tan covered with blocky brown marking.
In most cases, the top of Prairie Kingsnakes heads have backward pointing arrowhead shaped markings. But in older individuals you will notice that their ground colors are darker.
Prairie Kingsnakes have very unique adaptations that make them survival easier. They have a slender shape which is very helpful to them. This is because they can move slowly in the grass without being heard. The Prairie Kingsnake teeth point towards the back of the mouth and this helps them to keep their prey moving in the right direction which they swallow whole. They also smell with their tongues
Kingsnake bite is not harmful at all. They rarely bite but when threatened they vibrate their tails, flatten and appear to have white spots. In case you happen to capture the Prairie Kingsnake, they will excrete a foul smelling musk which will scare you.
The Prairie Kingsnake live in native prairies, along the edges of crops fields, old field, on rocks, wooded hill sides and near farms buildings. The Prairie Kingsnake mostly take their shelter under logs, rocks, boards or small mammal burrows. They are not likely to be seen in dense woodlands.
Surprisingly, Prairie Kingsnakes can eat other species of snakes even if they are venomous. These include; the copperheads, cottonmouths and rattlesnakes. Lizards, rodents, bird eggs, reptile eggs, frogs and birds are also their delicacy. Just like other snakes species, they kill their prey by constriction and the Prairie Kingsnake are non-venomous.
The Prairie Kingsnakes are active in April all the way to November. Generally they are active but very secretive. In spring they are normally active in the morning and evening only. During summer, they become nocturnal.
The Prairie Kingsnake mate in early spring just after emerging from winter. The males are the ones that go looking for female. The Prairie Kingsnake manage to trace them by following their scent.
The eggs are laid between June and July, where female lays 5 – 17 eggs under rocks and logs. The Prairie Kingsnake hatch in September and the young ones look more like adults though instead of having a brown color they are reddish. The color may remain the same in adulthood or become darker. The female Prairie Kingsnake leave just after the eggs hatch without caring for the young ones.
The Prairie Kingsnakes are very useful to the environment but mostly are killed. Many people are not aware of their environment benefits because they believe that all snakes are dangerous. In fact kingsnakes rarely bite only a few that has been reported to bite.
The fact that Prairie Kingsnakes eat rodents and mice is good news to the farmers. An additional benefit is because they eat venomous snakes. This ensures that if there are venomous snakes around your farm they will escape.