prairie kingsnake

Prairie Kingsnake

Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster


The Prairie Kingsnake is light in color with dark brown blotches on its body. There is a marking shaped like a backwards-pointing arrow on the top of its head. Its underside is cream or yellow in color.


Prairie Kingsnakes average 30-40 inches in length.



Prairie Kingsnakes are predators, consuming a wide variety of prey including mammals, birds, frogs, lizards, eggs, and other snakes. Rodents make up the majority of their diet. At Cosley Zoo, the Kingsnake is fed mice and chicks. The snakes at Cosley Zoo are not fed live prey.


Females lay eggs once a year in June or July. The Prairie Kingsnake lays between 6 and 17 eggs at a time. The eggs have thick, leathery shells and are buried under dirt or in leaf litter. After about 2 months, the eggs hatch and the young snakes will come out. The female leaves the nest shortly after laying the eggs and provides no care for the developing eggs or the young snakes.

Shelter and Space Needs

This type of snake can occupy a variety of habitats, although it is most frequently found in prairie or grassland areas. In the winter, snakes travel to dens where they stay with other snakes for the winter. They go through a process similar to hibernation, in which their body temperatures drop and heart rates and breathing slow down.

Life Expectancy


Importance to Man

Prairie Kingsnakes are beneficial to people because they help to control the rodent population.

Fun Facts