mole kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster rhombomaculata)
CHARACTERISTICS: This is a smooth, shiny snake that grows to
lengths of 30-40 in. (76-102 cm). The adult is yellowish to olive-brown
with small reddish-brown blotches down the back, alternating with small-
er blotches on the sides. Each blotch has a narrow black border. The belly
is yellowish-brown with indistinct brown spots. The juvenile is similar
to the adult but the blotches are dark-edged and more vivid on young
snakes, becoming indistinct with age. Older individuals may be a solid
brown color. The females are oviparous and deposit 10-12 eggs. The
eggs adhere to each other in clusters and hatch in the late summer. Mat-
ing probably takes place in spring and fall, although no records have
been recorded in the literature. This species is subterranean and nocturnal.
This species is usually seen when it is plowed up on farmland, after heavy
rains, or at night when crossing a road. Although it can burrow into sandy
and loamy soils, it probably uses rodent burrows and rotting tree root
passageways when available.
DISTRIBUTION: This species occurs in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont
regions of Virginia. It enters the Blue Ridge Province in the Roanoke
River Valley but apparently does not occur west of the Blue Ridge Moun-
tains. It has ot been found in southeastern Virginia east of Southampton
Co. or on the Eastern Shore. This is a burrowing snake that inhabits mixed
pine-hardwood forests, pine forests, abandoned fields, and farm fields,
especially areas with well-drained and sandy soils.
FOODS: The major foods for this species include mice, snakes and lizards.
They will also take small frogs and toads, moles and shrews, and grass-
Crooked Run Valley