Desert Kingsnake

Order:  Squamata (scaled reptiles)
Suborder:  Serpentes (snakes)
Family:  Colubridae ("typical" snakes)
Subfamily:  Colubrinae ("typical" snakes)
Genus:  Lampropeltis (kings and milksnakes)

Scientific Name:  Lampropeltis getula splendida Baird & Girard, 1853

Habitat:   Typical habitat consists of fields and other open areas with sufficient cover.

Lampro="shiny," pelta="shield" (scales) getulus=erroneously referring to an area in North Africa, splendida="splendid" (pattern)

Length:  May attain a total length of 5 feet or more. Old Scientific Name(s):  Lampropeltis getulus splendida; specific name changed to match "gender" of generic name
Food:  In captivity, my specimen has ate green anoles, Mediterranean geckos, and pinkie mice.  Wild individuals of this species will also eat other snakes, including rattlesnakes. Range of Common Kingsnake

I removed this snake from a family's house in August 2002.  They had mistaken it for a rattlesnake, because it had coiled up and was vibrating its tail, a common defense for many nonvenomous snakes (the rationale being that if the snake is in dry leaves and rattles its tail, the resulting sound mimics the familiar rattling sound of the rattlesnake--discouraging predators).

Desert Kingsnake
I had this snake only one year before it died of unknown causes.  I was looking forward to having it for years to come, as kingsnakes make excellent pets--taming quickly and very tolerant of handling. Desert Kingsnake

At right is a picture of an adult female desert king I removed from a girl's bedroom in 2004.  I suspect the king wandered into the house after picking up the scent of the girl's pet ferret--I found it near the ferret's cage.

Adult Female Desert King