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Southern Florida Mole Kingsnake

NON-VENOMOUS

snake

snake

Scientific name: Lampropeltis calligaster occipitolineata PRICE 1987

* Currently accepted name

Synonym:

* scientific names used through time

  • Coluber calligaster – HARLAN 1827
  • Coluber rhombo-maculatus – HOLBROOK 1840
  • Coronella rhombomaculata – HOLBROOK 1842
  • Ophibolus rhombomaculatus – BAIRD & GIRARD 1853
  • Ablabes triangulum var. calligaster – HALLOWELL 1856
  • Lampropeltis calligaster – COPE 1860
  • Lampropeltis rhombomaculata – COPE 1860
  • Lampropeltis calligaster occipitolineata – PRICE 1987

Average adult size is believed to be similar to the Mole Kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster rhombomaculata). Adults are tannish-gray, with more than 52 black-bordered reddish-brown body blotches. There are smaller reddish-brown blotches on the sides between the larger mid-dorsal blotches. The belly is checkered or clouded brown. The neck is indistinct. There is a light colored Y-shaped pattern on the back of the head and neck. There is a dark line through the eye. The scales are smooth., and there are 21-23 dorsal scale rows at midbody. The pupil is round. Juvenile coloration is similar to that of adults, but may be slightly darker.

drawing

A. Top of the head
B. Smooth scales
C. Front (face view) of the head
D. Elongated scales below the tail (subcaudal scales) are typically divided
E. Side of the head

Range: In Florida, the Southern Florida Mole Kingsnake is known only in the peninsula from Brevard Co. south to Lake Okeechobee and west to Charlotte and DeSoto counties. It is not found outside of Florida.

Habitat: Rare, it has been found near pinelands, hardwood hammocks, prairies, cattle pastures, and agricultural fields.

Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous)

The Southern Florida Mole Kingsnake is a terrestrial burrower, active mainly at night. It has been found under boards, around plowed fields, and crossing roads at night. Because of its fossorial behavior, less than 50 known specimens have been found.

It feeds on lizards, rodents, and other snakes. It lays eggs. No natural nests have been recorded. Captivity records indicate that breeding occurs in the spring, with newborns around 4-5 inches (10.1-12.7 cm) hatching in late summer.

Comparison with other species: The Eastern Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus) has a distinct neck, light spear-shaped pattern on the back of the head and neck, and black and white checkerboard patterned belly.

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