Any of seven species of snake (genus Lampropeltis, family Colubridae) found in numerous habitats from southeastern Canada to Ecuador. They kill by constriction; named for their practice of eating other snakes, they also take small mammals, amphibians, birds, and birds' eggs. They are mainly terrestrial and relatively slow-moving. Strikingly marked and smooth-scaled, they have a small head and are usually less than 4 ft (1.2 m) long, though some specimens may approach 7 ft (2 m). The common king snake, found throughout the U.S. and in northern Mexico, is usually black or dark brown, variously blotched, ringed, or speckled with yellow or white.
Common king snake (Lampropeltis getula).—Jack Dermid
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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