Meet the Critters! The Common Kingsnake

The common kingsnake is our star this week on Meet the Critters.  The common kingsnake is considered to be the most beautiful snake native to Cheyenne Bottoms, and our resident here at KWEC is no exception.  Their striking black and yellow patterns are like no other snake found on the refuge.

Kingsnakes  got their name from their habit of eating other snakes, including venomous snakes.  They kill their prey by constricting, and are known to eat rodents, small birds, lizards, and the eggs of birds and reptiles.

Raptors, water birds, and small mammals are all predators of adult kingsnakes, and their young are on the menu for large frogs and other snakes.  Like several other snake species, the common kingsnake will vibrate its tail against grass or leaves in order to mimic the sound of a rattlesnake, and hopefully frighten off predators.

Adult common kingsnakes can reach three to four feet in length.  The largest specimen ever recorded reached a whopping 6 feet 10 inches.  Captive common kingsnakes have been known to live over 33 years!

About Jean Aycock

Jean Aycock is an Educator at Ft. Hays State University’s Kansas Wetlands Education Center (KWEC) at Cheyenne Bottoms. Jean received a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry - Wildlife Management from Mississippi State University, and a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Arkansas-Monticello, studying shorebird migration. Jean is a native of southeast Missouri, and an avid birder, hiker, and crafter.

One Comment

  • Julie S
    22 Dec 2012 | Permalink |

    Great photos! And snakes give me the willies, though I’m working on it… :-)