Lampropeltis floridana

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Scientific name Lampropeltis floridana
English name Florida Kingsnake
Habitat This species inhabits various habitats within its distribution areas, such as prairie areas, various forest areas, marshes, estuaries, in the vicinity of farms and sugar cane plantations.
Distribution Only on the peninsula of Florida and on the upper islands of the Florida Keys.

From Key Largo, Monroe County northwards into Citrus County, Alachua County and Volusia County.

Details

 

 

Formerly this species was a subspecies of L. getula (L. getula floridana)

In 2017, based on DNA research, this species was split up into four separate species (L. floridana, L. getula, L. meansi and L. nigrita). Currently, these four species have no subspecies.


Krysko, Kenneth L.; Leroy P. Nuñez, Catherine E. Newman, Brian W. Bowen.  (2017) Phylogenetics of Kingsnakes, Lampropeltis getula Complex (Serpentes: Colubridae), in Eastern North America. J Hered (2017) 108 (3): 226-238.


This species is speckled and has 34 or more narrow, one and a half scale wide, crossbands that are light-coloured.

At birth, this species is mostly black with light-coloured crossbands.

Often there is some red/orange colouring in the light-coloured crossbands.

The dark scales between the light-coloured cross bands get lighter as the snakes grow older. In its entirety, this species, as an adult snake, looks like a brownish-yellowish, speckled snake. The cream/yellowish coloured belly has a “checkerboard pattern” of dark brown belly shields.

The average length of adult specimens is between 91 and 122 cm. Animals of more than 150 cm in length are known.

The Florida Kingsnake is mainly a ground dweller who is active during the day. But because this species leads a hidden life they are not seen often in the wild. They often lay under something and are found especially in the cooler parts of the habitat.

In the wild, this snake species eats, amongst others, snakes (also venomous snakes like rattlesnakes), lizards, frogs, rodents, birds, eggs (from tortoises/turtles and birds). This species is immune to the venom of rattlesnakes. They also do not hesitate to eat their own kind.

In captivity, these snakes do very well on a diet of rodents.

The mating season takes place from February to May. They lay their eggs in the beginning of the summer. An average clutch exists of 10 to 18 eggs (3 to 30). Two clutches per year are known.

The eggs hatch in late summer and the newborn snakes are about 13 to 20 cm long.

Life expectancy in captivity is 10 to 20 years.