Lampropeltis triangulum Photo Alan Cressler ©
This small, brightly colored snake is thought to be a coral snake mimic, but rather than the ‘red-touches-yellow, kill a fellow’ pattern of the coral snake, the scarlet kingsnake has red bands bordered with black bands, hence the ‘red touches black, friend of Jack’ mnemonic. In contrast with the similar looking scarlet snake, which has bands that go only half way around the body, the bands on scarlet kingsnakes completely encircle the body.
The scarlet kingsnake is widespread in Florida and quite common in pine flatwoods and wet prairies, but it is rarely seen because it spends its time burrowing in stumps, under rotten logs, and underground. These snakes are are nocturnal and probably feed on small snakes, skinks and lizards.
The scarlet kingsnake is non-venomous.
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