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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Know Your Milton: King Snake!


All:

Recently, there was a bit of excitement at the home of Magnolia Media Co-Founders Tim & Ginger Enloe. We had a visit by a very large (est 4 feet ) eastern king snake. After a lucky capture in a fifty gallon storage container and a few pictures (See above), we let this fine fellow venture back to the wonderful woods behind our home.

King snakes are indeginous to Milton and are the largest snake within our city. These snakes are a true asset as they feed primarily on rodents as well as local pit vipers such as the copper head and cotton mouth. King snakes are NOT venemous. It should be noted that a venemous snake's head is diamond shaped and their pupils are oval were as non poisonous snake's head is oval and their pupils round.

If you are lucky enough to come across a king snake, take some picture and let them go. By keeping such wonderful creatures safe from harm, you might be saving your own life in the long run. To find out more about one of Milton's special creatures, please see the article below.

Many thanks to www.uga.edu.

AM Staff

Description:

Eastern kingsnakes are large -- 36 – 48 in (90-122 cm) -- shiny-black smooth-scaled snakes with white or yellow chain-link bands that cross the back and connect along the sides. Because of this pattern this species is also referred to as the chain kingsnake. Generally, individuals from the Coastal Plain have wide bands while those from the mountains may have very thin bands or be nearly completely black. Eastern kingsnakes have a short stout head and small beady eyes. They have an undivided anal plate.

Range and Habitat:

Eastern kingsnakes are found throughout the eastern United States north to New Jersey . They are found in all areas of Georgia and South Carolina . They thrive in many habitats including hardwood and pine forests, bottomlands and swamps, hammocks, tidal wetlands, and even farmlands and suburban areas. This species is strongly terrestrial, but inhabits areas close to water such as stream banks and swamp borders. They are quite secretive and are frequently found under boards, tin or other cover objects.

Habits:

In our region kingsnakes are active almost exclusively by day but are most active in the morning during the summer. They are strong constrictors and consume a variety of prey including snakes, lizards, rodents, birds, and especially turtle eggs. Kingsnakes are resistant to the venom of pit-vipers and they readily eat copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes. Although they frequently rattle their tail, release musk, and bite upon capture, they generally tame quickly and are often kept as pets. This species mates in the spring and males bite the neck of females while mating. Females lay 3-24 eggs under debris or in rotting logs in early summer and eggs hatch in August-September.

Conservation Status:

Eastern kingsnakes receive no state, federal, or heritage ranking. However, concern has been expressed by some herpetologists that this species is declining in some areas of the Coastal Plain and in Florida . Although kingsnakes remain common in many regions, in some regions where they were once abundant they have recently nearly disappeared. The causes of these declines are unknown but habitat loss and degradation, imported fire ants, or diseases are potential causes. One formerly healthy and large kingsnake population on the Savannah River Site has been documented to have virtually disappeared in the last 20 years.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Somewhat different, a snake in a storage container rather than a snake in the grass!

Anonymous said...

Is that snake smiling?

Anonymous said...

yes i believe he is posing.
hmmm reminds me of a couple of people.

Scott said...

That is a pretty one.

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends

This is a Texas Rat Snake; not a Kingsnake.

Anonymous said...

After a closer look; it is a black rat snake. These patterns show up in different individuals, some are darker, almost black and some retain most of the juvenile coloration. Note: The Texas rat snake and the black rat snake intergrade in Louisiana and Arkansas. Sincerely, Anonymous