eastern kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula getula)
CHARACTERISTICS: This is a large snake that grows to lengths
of 36-48 in. (90-122 cm). It is a shiny black snake with series of thin,
white to cream crossbars or spots on the back. The belly is covered
with alternating black and white patches. Juveniles are patterned like
adults. Mating presumably takes place in the spring. Known egg lay-
ing dates in Virginia are between 16 and 22 June. Clutch size is 9-17.
The kingsnake may discharge musk from glands at the base of the tail
and vibrate its tail when disturbed. It may also coil itself into a ball
and hide its head in the coil. This species is terrestrial, and is most
often found under surface objects, such as boards, logs, tar paper, and
car hoods. Kingsnakes are diurnal, but are occasionally found on roads
DISTRIBUTION: This snake is widespread in the Coastal Plain and
Piedmont of Virginia. It also occurs in the Potomac River drainage in
northern Virginia west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are no
records for this species in the New River drainage. It inhabits a variety
of different habitats, including hardwood forest, mixed pine-hardwood
forest, pine forest, abandoned fields, margins of hardwood swamps and
freshwater marshes, and along creeks and streams.
FOODS: The following prey have been recorded for Virginia specimens:
eastern gartersnake, northern watersnake, ringneck snake, smooth earth-
snake, wormsnake, eastern five-lined skink, and white-footed mouse.
Crooked Run Valley