Kingsnakes are one of the most widespread and common groups of snakes in North America. All kingsnakes are non-venomous, and most are resistant to the venom of venomous snakes. This is how kingsnakes are able to prey upon all snakes as food, including venomous ones. The state of Ohio is home to a couple species of kingsnakes, one of which is actually a milksnake, but it’s still part of the same genus. In this article we’re going to be learning about the kingsnakes in Ohio.
Kingsnakes live in a wide variety of habitats, and many of them prefer to feed on other snakes, including venomous ones. This actually makes kingsnakes good to have around.
Ohio is ranked as the 34th largest state in the country with 44,825 square miles of land, 110 natural lakes, and over 3300 named rivers and streams. All that coupled with Ohio’s warm summers make for plenty of welcoming habitats for kingsnakes.
For this article we’ll be including all snakes that are a part of the Genus Lampropeltis, aka kingsnakes. Don’t forget though, this also includes milksnakes.
With all that being said, let’s have a look at Ohio 2 types of kingsnakes!
2 species of kingsnakes in Ohio
The only 2 species of kingsnake in Ohio are the eastern black kingsnake and the eastern milk snake.
1. Eastern black kingsnake
Scientific name: Lampropeltis nigra
This subspecies of Lampropeltis getula is found in just a few areas of southern Ohio. Kingsnakes are less common in the U.S. the further north you go, so there aren’t as many in Ohio as there are even in Tennessee or Kentucky. This species though is sometimes referred to as the black kingsnake wherever it’s found.
This subspecies may also reach up to 4 feet in length and get somewhat large for a kingsnake. Eastern black kingsnakes are mostly black in color, however they are usually covered in yellowish spots. They enjoy living in forests, wetlands, and near water. They breed in the spring and the females lay eggs in the early summer.
2. Eastern milksnake
Scientific name: Lampropeltis triangulum
The eastern milk snake is closely related to the scarlet kingsnake which we’ll learn about soon, but they’re very easy to tell apart. The milk snake is much bigger, with grey or cream colored scales and black and reddish brown splotches on it’s back. It’s named for the distinctive cream-colored triangular or y-shaped marking at the bas of it’s head.
Milk snakes can often be found in large barns, and folklore claims that their name is not because of their markings, but because they sneak into barns at night and milk the cows. This, of course, isn’t true. Instead, the reason they’re so common in barns is that barns usually have a lots of rodents, which are a milk snakes favorite prey.
Eastern milksnakes can be found throughout the entire state in every county of Ohio.