|Common name: Prarie kingsnake, Yellow-bellied Kingsnake|
Species name: Lampropeltis calligaster
Description: 30-56" (76.2-142.7 cm). A slender, variably patterned kingsnake. Tan, grayish-brown, or yellowish-brown above with black-edged, dark brown to reddish-brown or greenish blotches down back and 2 alternating rows of smaller, less conspicuous spots on sides. V-shaped arrowheadlike marking on crown of head. Pattern of older specimens may be lost or obscured by dark pigment; some develop 4 longitudinal dusky stripes. Scales smooth, in 21-27 rows. Anal plate single. Subspecies Prairie Kingsnake (L. c. calligaster), scales in 25 or 27 rows; interspaces between blotches about equal in size to blotch; belly white to yellowish, clouded or spotted with brown; w. Illinois southwest to the Gulf in sc. Louisiana, west to se. Nebraska, e. Kansas, Oklahoma, and e. Texas. Mole Kingsnake (L. c. rhombomaculata), scales in 21 or 23 rows; reddish, usually black-bordered, back blotches well separated; belly yellow with brown rectangular blotches; c. Maryland to n. Florida west to c. Tennessee and se. Louisiana. South Florida Mole Kingsnake (L. c. occipitolineata), similar to a young Mole Kingsnake, with dark bordered brown to red blotches down back and dark lines on head; isolated populations in ec. Florida
Distribution: C. Maryland to c. Florida west to se. Nebraska and e. Texas
Habitat: Open fields, cultivated farmland, barnyards, pastures, prairies, rocky hillsides, open woodland.
Foods: Eats small rodents, birds, frogs, lizards, and other snakes
(Image by LaVonne)
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