Prairie Kingsnake

Lampropeltis calligaster (State Status: S3; vulnerable)


Smooth scales, brown, tan, or gray coloration coloration, and brown blotching are all characteristics of the Prairie Kingsnake. Space between blotches is about the same size as the blotches (Behler & King 1979). Belly is white or yellowish, sometimes checkered (see below). They inhabit open grassy areas like prairies, rocky hillsides, and agricultural fields, occasionally near water. Relatively uncommonly observed in Mississippi (secretive). An adult may reach 15 – 30 inches in length (Powell et al., 2016). 

A young snake from the prairies of Iowa

Identifying Traits

  • Smooth brown, tan, or grayish coloration
  • Blotches are equal in size to the space between blotches (differentiates from Mole Kingsnake)


Grasslands, prairies, rocky hillsides, agricultural fields


Secretive, often in animals burrows, may be seen crossing roads or active in spring


Eats small mammals, frogs, lizard, other snakes

View of underside of a juvenile, Holt Co. (MO)
Dorsal view, Wapello Co. (IA)