Eastern Black Kingsnake is a non-venomous Ohio snake


The eastern black kingsnake is one of many subspecies of the common king snake. Other subspecies come in a variety of colors. As the name implies, the eastern black king snake is solid black in color, with small yellowish spots on the head and back, and smooth, shiny scales. Adult kingsnakes can reach up 4 feet in length, although most snakes are smaller. Kingsnakes do well in captivity, and can live to 25 years or more.


The eastern black kingsnake will eat other snakes, including venomous snakes such as the pit viper. It has developed a hunting technique over time to avoid being bitten by biting down on the jaws of the venomous snake, though even if bitten, it is immune to the effects of the venom. It also eats amphibians, turtle eggs, lizards, and other small mammals, which it typically kills by constriction

Distribution And Habitat

This handsomely marked constrictor is limited in Ohio to Adams, Scioto, Jackson, and Lawrence counties, and even in this area it is relatively uncommon. It shows a marked preference for the Scioto and Ohio River bottomlands. Except in early spring and fall, when they bask in the open, these snakes are very secretive, spending the day beneath logs, rocks, and the like, and emerging to hunt by night.


Eastern black kingsnakes are egg layers. When hatched, the young are usually 8 to 13 inches in length. They become sexually mature at about three or four years of age. Gestation period typically lasts 47 to 81 days.


Black kingsnakes are non-venomous, but they may vibrate their tail, release musk, and bite if handled.


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