Eastern Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis nigra)
Black Kingsnakes are moderate to stocky black snakes, with small yellowish spots on the head and back. The belly has a black and white checkered pattern. Their head is not distinct from their neck. Their scales are smooth and shiny. Black kingsnakes have a single anal plate.
Adult Black Kingsnakes may reach up 4 feet in total length, although most individuals are smaller.
Although widespread and common throughout much of Kentucky, Black Kingsnakes are absent from north central Kentucky and rare in some areas of eastern Kentucky. They inhabit forests, agricultural lands, wetland edges and even suburban areas.
Black Kingsnakes breed in the spring and females deposit eggs in moist areas during the early summer. Hatchlings are often found in late summer or early fall. Black Kingsnakes are constrictors and often prey upon other snakes, including venomous pit vipers. Apparently, Black Kingsnakes are immune to pit viper venom.
Black Kingsnakes are nonvenomous, but they may vibrate their tail, release musk and bite if handled.