Lampropeltis extenuata

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Scientific name Lampropeltis extenuata
English name Short-tailed Kingsnake
Habitat Hilly area with a preference for coniferous and deciduous forests with a sandy soil. It possibly also occurs in other habitats, but these have to comply with the following two requirements: prey must be present and the soil must be suitable to dig in.
In swamp areas where there is a lot of sphagnum present and which limits to the biotopes as described above, they are also found.
Distribution Northern, Central Florida. From Suwannee Co. and Columbia Co. till Hillsborough Co. and Orange Co.
West of the Suwannee River this snake is not found.
Details The Short-tailed Kingsnake was originally described (1890) as Stilosoma extenuatum.

Pyron & Burbrink revised this and renamed this species to Lampropeltis extenuata in 2009.


Pyron, R.A.; Burbrink, F.T. (2009), “Neogene diversification and taxonomic stability in the snake tribe Lampropeltini Serpentes: Colubridae”, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 52 (2): 524-529.


It is a small, slender snake that has an adult length between 36 and 51 cm. The measured record length is 65 cm. The tail of this pencil thick snake is at most 10% of the total body length.

This species is quite rare, is rarely seen and there is therefore little known about it. Its distribution area is also very limited.

His life takes place mainly under the ground and is not often above ground, especially during the day. If it is seen, it is in the spring and autumn (March to May and September to November).

This snake species is legally protected in Florida since the habitat is no more than 20,000 km2 in size and the quality of the habitat is rapidly deteriorated thanks to the expansion of agricultural and residential areas. Mining and deforestation also play a role in the deterioration of the habitat.

There are not much data about the life in the wild of this snake species. Without permission of the Florida government, it is not allowed to keep this snake in captivity.

Most of the data that are known are collected from snakes in captivity.

In the terrarium, they almost only accept snakes of the genus Tantilla as food (mainly Tantilla relicta). Perhaps small, Ground Skinks, such as Scincella lateralis, are also on their menu.

It is quite conceivable that, in the wild, the menu of the Short-tailed Kingsnake consists entirely of snakes that live mainly under the ground and are endemic to Florida.

Like all Lampropeltis species, this species also lay eggs. Copulations most probably take place between March and May (because in this period they are more often seen above the ground). Although copulations have never been observed and described. There is a presumption that there is a second copulation period between September and November (as they also often are found above ground in that period). Furthermore, nothing is known about the reproduction and the number of eggs etc.

Once a young Short-tailed Kingsnake with a visible “umbilical scar” was found on April 14. This small animal had a total length of 215 mm and a tail length of 25 mm).


Enge, K. M. 2014. Short-tailed snake reproduction. Threatened and Non-game Management Species Annual Report, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Wildlife Research Laboratory, Gainesville, Florida, USA. 9pp.