Prairie Kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster) - Wiki
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[Photo] Prairie Kingsnake, Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster from Austin, Texas. Photographer: LA Dawson http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Dawson
Lampropeltis calligaster is a species of kingsnake known commonly as the prairie kingsnake or mole kingsnake. They are found throughout the southeastern United States, from Nebraska to Virginia, Florida to Texas.
Lampropeltis calligaster is generally a light purple or [black] in color, with dark grey, dark brown, or reddish-brown blotching down the length of its body. They are capable of growing to lengths of 30-40 inches (76.2-101.6 cm). 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 the body. They have two black spots behind the head and smaller black spots down the back on both sides of the stripe.
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 non-venomous, 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.
Prairie Kingsnake, Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Harlan, 1827)
South Florida Mole Kingsnake, Lampropeltis calligaster occipitolineata (Price, 1987)
Mole Kingsnake, Lampropeltis calligaster rhombomaculata (Holbrook, 1840)
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