The Mexican black kingsnake is also called the common black king snake or the eastern black king snake. It’s a member of the colubrid family, with most members of this species living in North America.
These snakes are generally found in areas that are warm and humid, like Florida and Texas. As part of their natural behavior, they feed on small mammals, lizards, birds, eggs, and even other snakes.
They’re nonvenomous and can be kept in captivity without any problems. The Mexican black kingsnake is a large, heavy-bodied snake that has keeled scales.
It is black with brown or reddish spots on its back and sides. The underside is white or yellowish.
The Mexican black kingsnake is a highly sought-after pet because it’s beautiful, easy to take care of, and has lots of personality.
The Mexican black kingsnake is the most well-known variety of snakes because it’s perfect for beginners and experts alike. Here, are some facts and tips to help you know everything there is to know about these intriguing snakes.
- 1 The Mexican black kingsnake
- 2 Mexican Black kingsnake scientific name
- 3 Geographic range and habitat
- 4 Behavior and diet
- 5 Reproduction
- 6 Conservation status
- 7 What do you need to know about Mexican black kingsnakes?
- 8 The history of the Mexican black kingsnake
- 9 The Mexican black kingsnake in captivity
- 10 The future of the Mexican black kingsnake
The Mexican black kingsnake
This species is found throughout the midwestern and northeastern United States, as well as southern Ontario and Quebec in Canada. The Mexican black kingsnake is a fairly good swimmer and is often found in the water around wetlands and ponds.
In the wild, the Mexican black kingsnake is a sunbather, spending its time basking in the sun and climbing rocks. It’s known to be a fairly lethargic snake.
This means that it will not run quickly, like a rattlesnake, but instead gives you the impression that it may not move much at all. The adult Mexican black king snake has a total length (including tail) of about three to four feet.
At the most, the largest male can reach up to six feet in total length. Males can weigh as much as 60-80 pounds.
most closely resembles its common cousin, the common kingsnake, and can often be confused with it. It’s a beautiful, speckled, and dark brown snake, with solid black snake eyes.
It has long, sinuous, forked tails, and is one of the most attractive snakes you’ll find. Find this curious and beautiful snake in the Western Hemisphere in the U.S. (but perhaps not the same color as the common kingsnake), Mexico, and the Brazilian Amazon Basin.
It’s a crepuscular-dusk reptile, and very active during the evening and night. Its diet is typical of snakes in the subfamily Lampropeltinae and can include frogs, mice, rats, birds, and other snakes.
Subspecies name nigrita: name derived from the names of the African and Mexican black kingsnakes, and means “dark brown” in Latin.
Mexican Black kingsnake scientific name
Scientific Name – (Lampropeltis getula nigrita)
gets at the black tone of the belly, which helps distinguish the Mexican black kingsnake from its close cousin, the common kingsnake, as well as the coiled king snakes.
The Mexican black kingsnake’s home is the Texas Hill Country, with the majority of the population found in the region around San Antonio and the surrounding area.
While the snake’s native habitat in the Hill Country is mostly grasslands and open prairie, recent poaching of their burrows and habitat loss throughout the region have driven them to seek out other locales to call home.
It is not uncommon to see them around the city of San Antonio, including at our Serpentarium, which is located inside the San Antonio Zoo.
Geographic range and habitat
Mexican black kingsnakes are found from South Texas north to Chihuahua, where they spend their winters in caves or abandoned mines, and they migrate south to be active and nesting during the hot, dry summers.
Habitat: Mexican black kingsnakes inhabit many different habitats throughout their range, and they can also be found living under rocks and logs in a wide variety of habitats.
They are one of the more common snakes in the arid, grasslands of the southern United States. However, these snakes need soil for burrowing and most prefer limestone to bedrock.
They typically stay away from dense forests, so avoid areas near cities, forests, and residential areas. Venom Mexican black kingsnakes are not usually dangerous to humans and possess a venom primarily consisting of hypenemus toxins.
Behavior and diet
These snakes are highly venomous and are secretive and secretive in nature. They are diurnal, making high-pitched squeaks to display and confuse potential predators.
They can be found in areas with wooded landscapes, such as river banks and grasslands. These snakes generally lay 3–5 eggs, typically on land.
Status and threats Although most of the Mexican black kingsnake’s native habitat in the United States have been lost or fragmented due to development and urbanization, some populations still exist in northern states.
As their common names indicate, this snake is sometimes referred to as the “black kingsnake,” the “black kingsnake king,” the “black kingsnake king of kingsnakes,” the “black kingsnake black snake,” or just the “black kingsnake.”
The snakes grow to be about two feet in length and they have often been sold in pet stores and on the Internet under the names of “black kingsnake king,” “black kingsnake king of kingsnakes,” “black kingsnake king black snake,” “black kingsnake king black king,” and “black kingsnake king black king.”
They are popular among snake enthusiasts because they are relatively uncommon and difficult to find at a decent price.
Mexican black kingsnake: Least Concern (2017) Found in central Mexico, northern Sonora, western Sinaloa, northern Chihuahua, northern Coahuila, and northern Durango. Typical size: Length: 10-12 in. Weight: 2.5-3.5 lbs.
Coloration Black, with a bright rust/orange band on its back. There is also a pale, flesh-colored line that curves down the center of the snake’s back and narrows as it approaches the belly.
These reptiles spend most of their lives in and around leaf litter in primary and second-growth tropical forests. Unlike other kingsnakes, which tend to be secretive and elusive, the Mexican black kingsnake is easily seen and generally fairly common.
What do you need to know about Mexican black kingsnakes?
It’s a slimy snake. Unlike many snakes, you don’t need to be concerned about the redness of their skin.
“The Mexican black kingsnake is very common in the southeast part of the United States and around the Gulf of Mexico, so there isn’t much need to be concerned about what it looks like,” says Pete Gurney, founder of the Gurney’s Reptiles in Milford, New Hampshire.
It is highly venomous. The Mexican black kingsnake is considered a “Highly venomous” snake, just like the rattlesnake. They are considered to be among the most dangerous in the Western hemisphere.
Only three species of snakes – the copperhead, the cottonmouth, and the western diamondback – can be even considered equal in terms of pain inflicted from the bite.
The history of the Mexican black kingsnake
Historically, the Mexican black kingsnake was described by O.C. Marsh in 1887, but the species had already been spotted by zoologists over a decade earlier.
The Mexican black kingsnake was spotted in southwest Texas and northern Mexico in the early to mid-1800s by sailors and travelers on ships and ships they encountered along the Gulf Coast.
Mexican black kingsnakes don’t live in ponds and marshes like their cousins the common and eastern kingsnakes do.
They are often found in wet areas like parking lots and woodlands, where they are protected from predators by being embedded into the ground or lying in leaf litter.
Unlike most black snakes, Mexican black kingsnakes have an olive-brown or tan coloration that extends well up to their bodies.
The Mexican black kingsnake in captivity
Both the Mexican black kingsnake and the black rattlesnake belong to the same subfamily, but they’re otherwise quite different.
It has an elongated tail, it likes to burrow and it tends to live in urban areas, so the two species have been classified as two separate species.
An adult Mexican black kingsnake (Coluber constrictor sumneri) can grow to a maximum of 2-5 feet (60-90 cm), but most tend to be smaller than that.
They tend to weigh around 40-70 grams, but, depending on the species, can weigh anywhere from 1-4 pounds (0.5-1.3 kg). The Mexican black kingsnake is completely harmless.
It is an ophidiophagous snake, meaning that it feeds on snakes. The Mexican black kingsnake doesn’t often live as long as other snakes, usually living around five to seven years.
The future of the Mexican black kingsnake
You can’t put a price on the conservation of an imperiled species, but we can tell you that the Mexican black kingsnake is worth more than just a little bit of money.
The Mexican black kingsnake is a vital part of many native ecosystems, including grasslands, savannas, woodlands, and ponds.
Because of this, its habitat is under threat because of the introduction of invasive species like cottonmouth and copperhead, which prey on snakes.
Scientists like our expert snake specialist Ben Lawrence at the Southern Alabama Forestry Commission, also suggest that the best place to protect the Mexican black kingsnake is in native ecosystems. What happens if Mexican black kingsnakes go extinct?
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