Scarlet Kingsnake

Lampropeltis elapsoides


The Scarlet Kingsnake is small to medium in size, with red, black, and yellow or whiteish bands that enter or surround the belly. Front of head is generally red. This snake is a harmless mimic of the venomous coral snake. They inhabit palmetto stands, pine forests, coastal woodlands, and some suburban areas in the southeast half of the state. Scarlet Kingsnakes are highly secretive and usually only active at night. They may be found resting during the day beneath the bark of dead or fallen pine trees. Scarlet Kingsnakes eat small mammals, frogs, snakes, and lizards.

Adult female Scarlet Kingsnake, Harrison Co. (MS)

Identifying Traits

  • Red, black, and yellow/cream/white bands that extend and continue on belly.
  • Red snout


Woodlands, especially pine forests


Secretive, often under logs, bark etc during the day. Nocturnal


Eats small mammals, frogs, lizard, other snakes

Darker individual found near a recently burned bog, South Mississippi.
Closeup of head, snake found in South Mississippi
Scarlet Kingsnake coiled upon pine litter, South Mississippi