Lampropeltis calligaster

(Redirected from Prairie Kingsnake)

Lampropeltis calligaster is a species of kingsnake known commonly as the prairie kingsnake or yellow-bellied kingsnake.[1][2]

Lampropeltis calligaster
Prairie kingsnake
Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Lampropeltis
L. calligaster
Binomial name
Lampropeltis calligaster
(Harlan, 1827)
  • Coluber calligaster Harlan, 1827
  • Ablabes triangulum var. calligaster Hallowell, 1856
  • Ophibolus calligaster Cope, 1900
  • Lampropeltis calligaster rhombomaculata Conant & Collins, 1991

Geographic range edit

Prairie kingsnakes are found mostly in the midwestern and southeastern United States although they can be found in other areas.[1] Their additional range extends west from southeast Nebraska to eastern Texas.

Description edit

It is light brown or grey in color, with dark grey, dark brown, or reddish-brown blotching down the length of their bodies. They are capable of growing to lengths of 76–102 cm (30–40 in). They are easily mistaken for various species of rat snake of the genus Pantherophis, which share habitat, and can have similar markings. Some specimens have their markings faded, to appear almost a solid brown color. Juveniles usually have a brown stripe down the back of their bodies. They have two black spots behind the head and smaller black spots down the back on both sides of the stripe.

Behavior edit

Prairie kingsnakes' preferred habitat is open grassland with loose, dry soil, typically on the edge of a forested region, not far from a permanent source of water. Their diet consists primarily of rodents, but they will also consume lizards, frogs and occasionally other snakes. They are nonvenomous, and typically docile. Like most colubrids, if harassed they will shake their tail, which if in dry leaf litter can sound remarkably like a rattlesnake. They are not typically prone to biting, and if handled will often excrete a foul-smelling musk. When threatened, they flatten and appear to have white spots.

Habitat edit

They are often found in abandoned structures, underneath logs, debris, and inside of tree trunks. They are typically unseen by people not searching for them due to their secretive nature. The mole kingsnake is fossorial as their name would suggest. However, when they are found aboveground they are found in open areas such as fields, cultivated lands, thickets, and edge habitats.[3]

Reproduction edit

Elements of the mole kingsnake's reproduction corresponds, in part, to the general colubrid mating pattern. Egg laying has been reported in June through July, with clutch sizes ranging from 6 - 17 eggs.[4]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c Hammerson, G.A. (2007). "Lampropeltis calligaster". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2007: e.T63826A12719786. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2007.RLTS.T63826A12719786.en. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  2. ^ Lampropeltis calligaster at the Reptile Database. Accessed 12 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Species Profile: Mole Kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster) | SREL Herpetology". Retrieved 2022-04-29.
  4. ^ Tyron, Bern, W.; Carl, Gary (1980). "Reproduction in the Mole Kingsnake, Lampropeltis calligaster rhombomaculata (Serpentes, Colubridae)". Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science. No. 2 (2): 66–73. doi:10.2307/3627716. JSTOR 3627716 – via JSTOR.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)