Eastern Black Kingsnake

Scientific Name
Lampropeltis nigra
Colubridae (nonvenomous snakes) in the order Squamata (lizards and snakes)

The eastern black kingsnake is very similar to the speckled kingsnake, with white to yellow dots on a black body. However, the eastern black kingsnake pattern is very faint or incomplete, with white or yellow dots, and in some individuals the pattern can be a faint, chainlike marking along the side.

Other Common Names
Eastern Black King Snake

Length: 36 to 45 inches.

Where To Find
Eastern Black Kingsnake Distribution Map

Restricted to the southeastern corner of the state.

This species occurs in open woodlands and dry, rocky hills. It was known to occur east of the Mississippi River, but recently individuals of this species were discovered in southeastern Missouri.

Foods include lizards, other snakes (including venomous snakes), and small rodents.

Life Cycle

Presumably similar to its close relative, the speckled kingsnake, with courtship and mating in spring, eggs laid in summer, and the young hatching in late summer.

Media Gallery
Similar Species
About Reptiles and Amphibians in Missouri
Missouri’s herptiles comprise 43 amphibians and 75 reptiles. Amphibians, including salamanders, toads, and frogs, are vertebrate animals that spend at least part of their life cycle in water. They usually have moist skin, lack scales or claws, and are ectothermal (cold-blooded), so they do not produce their own body heat the way birds and mammals do. Reptiles, including turtles, lizards, and snakes, are also vertebrates, and most are ectothermal, but unlike amphibians, reptiles have dry skin with scales, the ones with legs have claws, and they do not have to live part of their lives in water.