Scarlet Kingsnake

Toledo snake

The Scarlet Kingsnake s probably one of the most attractive snakes that people are likely to encounter in the United States, and it is actually quite harmless too. One of the biggest problems for the Scarlet Kingsnake is that it is often mistaken for the venomous Coral Snake, which means that many of these snakes are mistakenly killed every year. The bright bands of yellow, black and red make the Scarlet Kingsnake a popular pet, but in the wild they are quite secretive animals and most people will never see one.

Appearance And Diet
The Scarlet Kingsnake is larger than the Florida Scarlet Snake, which is another Coral Snake mimic, and will usually grow between sixteen and twenty inches in length. The banding that runs along the body of this Kingsnake is quite distinctive, with the black bands running between bands of red and yellow alternately. Another feature that people can use to help distinguish between the Coral Snake and the Scarlet Kingsnake is the facial color. The Scarlet Kingsnake will have a red face, while the Coral Snake itself is an animal that will always have a black face.

In terms of the diet of the Scarlet Kingsnake it will usually eat a range of small animals which it will kill using constriction. The prey can include small lizards and other snakes, along with mice and almost anything else that it can capture. However, the Scarlet Kingsnake has a huge preference for skinks when they are available, which means that populations of these snakes will often be found where there are skink populations.

Behavior And Habitat
The Scarlet Kingsnake is a snake that is very nervous and will generally look to avoid any contact with humans, and even if captured then it will still be reluctant to bite or strike its captor. This trait is one that does boost the popularity of the Scarlet Kingsnake as a pet. It is generally nocturnal and will rarely be seen during the daytime by people unless they expose a hiding place by moving a stone or log, or shortly after heavy rain where the habitat and den of the snake has been disrupted.

Another reason that the Scarlet Kingsnake is so rarely sighted in the wild is that it normally lives underground, and along with its nocturnal habits this is why it is so rarely sighted. These snakes are usually to be found in forested or wooded areas where they will find plenty of food, and will especially look for areas where there are fallen trees or plenty of rocks that they can slither under in order to find cover.

Reproduction And Growth Cycle
The Scarlet Kingsnake will generally mate in the Spring between March and June, and the female will then lay a clutch of between two and eight eggs which will then hatch some two months later. Most hatchlings will usually been between three and four inches in length when they are born, and the yellow bands which are seen in the adults will be white when they are born. As these snakes grow then the coloring of the white bands will change, which will develop as these snakes get to around ten inches in length.

The Scarlet Kingsnake will reach sexual maturity after around two years, and will then grow much more slowly throughout their lives, which can last up to fifteen years in the wild.

Distinguishing Between The Scarlet Kingsnake And The Coral Snake

The two main features used to identify the Coral Snake is the color of the snout, which is black, and the banding which places yellow and red bands together. Many people will remember the old saying from their childhood:

“Red touch yellow kills a fellow; red touch black, friend of Jack.”

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