Squamata

Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)


Family Colubridae

Eastern Kingsnake

Common Name:

Eastern Kingsnake


Scientific Name:

Lampropeltis getula getula

Photo of Eastern Kingsnake courtesy of John White
Photo of Eastern Kingsnake courtesy of John White


Size:
36 - 48 inches. Record - 82 inches.

Appearance:
  • A shiny black or dark brown back encircled by thin white, cream or yellow “rings” or “links” in a chain-like pattern.
  • The pattern continues onto the belly but may be faded or obscure.
  • The small head is black with varying numbers of white or yellow spots.
  • Scales not keeled.

Habitats:

Use a variety of habitats including most forest types, old fields, freshwater marshes, stream banks and borders of swamps. Can be found in agricultural and urban areas within riparian zones.

Photo of Habitat for Eastern Kingsnake courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
Photo of Habitat for Eastern Kingsnake courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers


How to Find:

Walk stream banks, wetland edges and around old farm buildings looking under coarse woody debris and any large fairly flat pieces of refuse, including discarded boards, tar paper and even automobile hoods. Hiss and act aggressive when first handled, but quickly settle down and seldom bite. Non-venomous.


Distribution in Maryland:

Primarily a Coastal Plain species but will follow river valleys onto the Piedmont.​

Eastern Kingsnake - Distribution in Maryland