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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 09, 2021

Check Out These Ssseriously Cool Speckled Kingsnake Facts

One of the interesting speckled kingsnake facts is that it is also known as the 'salt-and-pepper snake'.

The speckled kingsnake (Lampropeltis holbrooki) is a species of non-venomous kingsnake. Speckled kingsnakes are medium to large-sized snakes with black scales and small yellow spots that give them a speckled appearance. The Lampropeltis holbrooki, with the common name speckled kingsnake, is also known as the salt-and-pepper snake. First discovered in 1842 by the American herpetologist John Edwards Holbrook, it was long considered as a sub-species of the Lampropeltis getula, or desert kingsnake. Later, it was given full species status and called Lampropeltis holbrooki in honor of John Edwards Holbrook.

Speckled kingsnakes are found in a wide variety of habitats ranging from rocky or woody hillsides, woodlands, forest areas, underbrush, and the edges of marshes and swamps. Commonly found in the wild as a predatory species, the speckled kingsnake is also bred in captivity and is kept as a pet by snake enthusiasts.

You may also check out black rat snake facts and snake facts for kids from Kidadl.

Speckled Kingsnake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Speckled Kingsnake?

The Lampropeltis holbrooki, common name speckled kingsnake, is a snake belonging to the Colubridae family and Lampropeltis genus.

What class of animal does a Speckled Kingsnake belong to?

The speckled kingsnake (Lampropeltis holbrooki) is a species of non-venomous snake belonging to the Reptilia class in the Animalia kingdom.

How many Speckled Kingsnakes are there in the world?

The range of the speckled kingsnake overlaps with that of the desert kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula splendida). Speckled kingsnakes are often found to breed with the desert kingsnake.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the population of speckled kingsnakes is stable. While the exact numbers of the adult speckled kingsnake population are unknown, it is presumed that there are more than 100,000 adult speckled kingsnakes in the United States alone.

Where does a Speckled Kingsnake live?

Speckled kingsnakes are secretive in their movements and live under rocks, logs, rotting stumps, wooden boards or are found in small mammal burrows. They are mostly found on rocky or woody hillsides. But they also live near the edges of forests, swamps, marshes, rivers, scrubs, prairies, woodlands, and farmlands.

What is a Speckled Kingsnake's habitat?

The speckled kingsnake is found in a wide variety of habitats ranging from the edge of forest areas, rocky or wooded hillsides, the edges of marshes or swamps, prairies, scrublands, and underbrush areas. While it prefers wetter habitats such as swamps and river edges, the speckled kingsnake is also commonly found near grasslands, farmhouses, and barnyards.

Who do Speckled Kingsnakes live with?

Speckled kingsnakes are typically solitary creatures. They live and forage for food alone during their active periods between April and October. Males and females of the species only come together for breeding in late April and May.

How long does a Speckled Kingsnake live?

The speckled kingsnake has a lifespan of up to 20 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

Speckled kingsnakes are oviparous animals. They are active between the months of April and October and remain dormant during the winters in small underground mammal burrows or caves. Speckled Kingsnakes are active during the day in spring, early summer, and autumn. In the peak summer season, they are active at night to avoid the heat. After hibernating in winter, male speckled kingsnakes actively seek out females for breeding. Males and females of the species court and mate in late April and May during their active period.

Females lay two clutches of eggs per breeding season. Females lay their eggs under logs, stumps of wood, rocks, or decaying vegetation. Each clutch has between 6-23 eggs. The eggs hatch in late summer.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the speckled kingsnake is of Least Concern (LC) according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Speckled kingsnakes are relatively common and widespread. They are not an endangered species. However, the state of Iowa, in the U.S., has listed the speckled kingsnake as a threatened species.

The speckled kingsnake is a predator snake that keeps populations of rodents and other venomous species of snakes in check. It is also preyed upon by large birds and other larger species of American kingsnakes. Young or juvenile kingsnakes and their eggs are at the greatest risk.

Speckled Kingsnake Fun Facts

What do Speckled Kingsnakes look like?

The speckled kingsnake is a medium to large-sized kingsnake with shiny black scales and small yellow spots. The black or dark brown dorsal scales have a small white or yellow spot in the center that gives this kingsnake its speckled pattern and common name. The yellow spots may be arranged to form a chain-like pattern on the back dorsal scales. Some adults may be black with light spots on the scales.

The black speckled kingsnake has a yellow belly with irregular or rectangular black patterns. Young or juvenile speckled kingsnakes have light spots along the back that form a crossbar pattern. Juvenile speckled kingsnakes tend to be dark olive green in color. Speckled kingsnakes are also commonly known as salt and pepper snakes.

Speckled kingsnakes are a non-venomous species of medium to large-sized American kingsnakes.

How cute are they?

Speckled Kingsnakes have a distinct speckled pattern that gives them a unique appearance. They have dark red eyes and a yellow underbelly with irregular black markings. Their dorsal scales are shiny black and their yellow spots make them look beautiful and elegant. Snake enthusiasts may find the snake cute.

How do they communicate?

Like most snakes, Kingsnakes use chemical cues such as pheromones to communicate and receive information from the environment. Snakes have a well-developed sense of taste and smell. They collect pheromones using their vomeronasal system and forked tongue. The pheromones are processed through the Jacobson’s organs in the roof of their mouth. Snakes communicate for the purposes of breeding, mating, and defending their territory or food source.

How big is a Speckled Kingsnake?

The speckled kingsnake is a medium-to-large snake. It measures between 35.8-48 in (91-122 cm) in length. Speckled kingsnakes are only slightly smaller than the largest species of rattlesnakes.

How fast can a Speckled Kingsnake move?

The speckled kingsnake moves at a slow pace. These snakes are not very fast and are also known to be poor climbers.

How much does a Speckled Kingsnake weigh?

Like other species of kingsnakes, a speckled kingsnake can weigh anywhere between 3-5 lb (1.4-2.3 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The males and females of the speckled kingsnake do not have separate names.

What would you call a baby Speckled Kingsnake?

A baby speckled kingsnake is called a snakelet, neonate, or hatchling. Baby speckled kingsnakes measure between 7-9in (17.7-22.8 cm). They start attaining adulthood between four to six months. Baby Kingsnakes can be a bit feisty and their diet mainly consists of lizards and small snakes such as ribbon snakes and baby garter snakes.

What do they eat?

The speckled kingsnake is a carnivore. Its diet consists of small rodents, lizards, frogs, birds, small mammals, and snakes. Speckled kingsnakes are immune to the venom of various venomous species of snakes. They prey on small venomous species of snakes such as copperhead snakes, cottonmouth snakes, rattlesnakes, and pit vipers. Speckled kingsnakes kill by constricting their prey.

Are they poisonous?

No, the Speckled Kingsnake is a non-venomous species of snake.

Would they make a good pet?

Speckled kingsnakes are commonly captive bred and would make for a good pet for handlers with a relatively good experience with snakes. Speckled Kingsnakes are a non-venomous and relatively docile species. They will strike once or twice during capture but calm down quickly. They can be handled with ease as pets. But care must be taken when they feel threatened. Speckled Kingsnakes will rattle their tails, expel foul-smelling musk or feces, or bite when threatened. If you choose to keep a Speckled Kingsnake as a pet, it is best to have a captive-bred snake.

Did you know...

The speckled kingsnake (Lampropeltis holbrooki) is immune to the venom of some species of venomous snakes.

The longest speckled kingsnake on record is a whopping 72 in (182.8 cm)!

An albino-speckled kingsnake variety has been bred in captivity. Also known as ‘lavender albinos’, the albino speckled kingsnake is an attractive solid white snake with bright yellow spots.

The speckled kingsnake is recognized in rural Arkansas as literally the ‘king-snake’ and is never killed.

Speckled Kingsnake bites

Captive speckled kingsnakes are a relatively docile species of snake. They tend to strike and bite once or twice during capture and initial handling. However, they calm down quickly thereafter and do not bite again unless threatened. When they feel threatened, speckled kingsnakes will rattle their tails, release foul-smelling musk or bite. These bites can be painful for humans. The snake must be handled with care by those who have good experience with raising snakes.

Keeping Speckled Kingsnakes

Speckled kingsnakes are a popular pet in the United States among snake enthusiasts. Speckled Kingsnakes caught in the wild can be aggressive and unpredictable. Therefore, snake experts suggest that if you want to keep a speckled kingsnake as a pet, you must get a captive-bred speckled kingsnake. Captive-bred snakes are more docile and calm as compared to their wild counterparts. Kingsnakes bred in captivity can live anywhere between 20-30 years with good care in a terrarium or aquarium. Speckled kingsnakes are aggressive feeders and care must be taken during feeding.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our coral snake facts and rattlesnake facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Speckled kingsnake coloring pages.

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