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Speckled kingsnake

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The Speckled kingsnake is a nonvenomous snake endemic to the United States. Almost every dorsal scale has a tiny yellow-white speck in the middle, giving the pattern its popular name. This snake is also known as the “salt-and-pepper snake.”

KINGDOMAnimalia
SCIENTIFIC NAMELampropeltis holbrooki
FAMILYColubridae
LENGTH120 cm
Life Span20 yrs

Distribution

You’ll find speckled kingsnakes as far south as southern Iowa and as far west as the Gulf of Mexico. They frequent moist environments, such as swamps and rivers; however, they regularly go to drier regions like forests and grassy meadows.

Habits and Lifestyle

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Speckled Kingsnakes (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

Speckled kingsnakes are solitary and largely terrestrial species. From early spring until late fall, they are active, and in the frigid months of the year, they hibernate underground in abandoned burrows or cracks. Speckled kingsnakes hunt during the day, although they might shift to nocturnal behavior during the winter. They employ constriction to kill their prey and tend to be opportunistic in their diet. Speckled kingsnakes usually are placid and harmless. A rattlesnake’s tail shakes violently to warn predators away. They may also release scent and excrement or bite when feeling threatened.

Diet and Nutrition

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Speckled Kingsnakes (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

To survive, SKS eat a wide variety of prey, including tiny reptiles and amphibians and small mammals and birds, including rats and frogs. These snakes will sometimes eat fish and other kinds of snakes, poisonous and not. Adults eat largely on rodents and other snakes (particularly different water snakes and cottonmouths) (including various water snakes and cottonmouths).

Mating Habits

The speckled kingsnakes are typically solitary, unless during mating season. Soon after their hibernation, the males actively hunt for females for mating any time between early and late March. After the courting rituals and successful copulation, the gravid females will deposit their eggs at the end of summer.

The females would generally deposit their eggs behind stumps, rocks, logs, or rotting plant material. The hatching takes occurs in the autumn. They produce two clutches of eggs during a breeding season, each containing anything from six to twenty-five eggs.

The hatchlings are 7 to 9 inches long when they are hatched. The newborn kingsnakes tend to be a little feisty and begin gaining maturity about 4-6 months after birth. The juvenile snakes usually prey on lizards and small snakes like ribbon snakes and baby garters.

Related: How do snakes mate ?

Predators

These snakes, particularly their eggs and the young ones, are primarily susceptible to local birds of prey, certain predators, and other bigger species of kingsnakes.

How do they communicate?

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Speckled Kingsnakes (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

Like other snakes, Kingsnakes utilize chemical signals such as pheromones to communicate and receive environmental information. Snakes have a well-developed sense of taste and smell. They gather pheromones using their forked tongue and vomeronasal system. Processed by the Jacobson’s organs, located on their mouth’s roof, pheromones are released. Snakes communicate for the objectives of breeding, mating, and guarding their territory or food supply.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the speckled kingsnake is of Least Concern (LC) according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (IUCN). Speckled kingsnakes may be found all over the world. They are not an endangered species. However, the state of Iowa in the U.S. has categorized the speckled kingsnake as a threatened species.

The speckled kingsnake is a predator snake that keeps populations of rodents and other dangerous snakes under control. It is also preyed upon by huge birds and other larger species of American kingsnakes. Young or immature kingsnakes and their eggs are at the greatest danger.

FQA (FrequentlyAsked Question)

Speckled Kingsnake 1

How cute are they?

The speckled pattern of Speckled Kingsnakes distinguishes them from other snakes. They have dark red eyes and a golden underbelly with irregular black patterns. Their dorsal scales are lustrous black, and their golden markings make them seem attractive and graceful. Snake fans may find the snake cute.

How big is a Speckled Kingsnake?

The speckled kingsnake may grow up to 30 feet long, a medium-to-large snake. It measures 35.8-48 in (91-122 cm) length. Speckled kingsnakes are just slightly smaller than the biggest species of rattlesnakes.

How fast can a Speckled Kingsnake move?

The speckled kingsnake travels at a sluggish rate. Snakes of this species are notorious for their slowness and inability to scale walls.

What would you call a baby Speckled Kingsnake?

A baby-speckled kingsnake is called a snakelet, neonate, or hatchling. Baby speckled kingsnakes measure from 7-9 (17.7-22.8 cm) (17.7-22.8 cm). Between the ages of four and six months, they begin to mature. Baby Kingsnakes may be a little aggressive, and their food consists of lizards and tiny snakes such as ribbon snakes and baby garter snakes.

Are they poisonous?

No, the Speckled Kingsnake is a non-venomous species of snake.

Would they make a nice pet?

Speckled kingsnakes are regularly captive-bred and would make for a suitable pet for handlers with pretty decent expertise with snakes. They are non-venomous snakes with a calm disposition. They will attack once or twice during capture but settle down shortly. They can be handled with ease as pets. But caution must be taken when they feel endangered. When threatened, Speckled Kingsnakes may rattle their tails, release a foul musk or excrement odor, or bite. Keeping a Speckled Kingsnake as a pet is best done with a snake raised in captivity.

Did you know?

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Speckled Kingsnakes (Image Credit: Shutterstock)
  • The venom of certain poisonous snakes cannot harm the speckled kingsnake (Lampropeltis holbrooki).
  • The world’s longest recorded speckled kingsnake is 72 inches (182.8 centimeters) long!
  • An albino-speckled kingsnake variation has been grown in captivity. Also known as ‘lavender albinos,’ the albino speckled kingsnake is a beautiful solid white snake with bright yellow markings.
  • The speckled kingsnake is renowned in rural Arkansas as literally the ‘king-snake’ and is never killed.
Also Read: California Kingsnake Facts.
Also Read: The scarlet king snakes

Reference

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