The common king snake is generally about 3 to 6 feet long, shiny black with a pattern of light colored bands that run across its body, and a black and yellow checkered stomach. Although the snake does not have a rattle, it does shake its tail when threatened.
The snake also is characterized by a short stout head, small beady eyes and an undivided anal plate.
King snakes can be found ranging from southern New Jersey to West Virginia, south to northern Florida, and west to the Appalachians and southeastern Alabama. The coloration of the King Snake can change depending on where it is located. For example, the black king snake that is normally found in the north central United States lacks the light colored bands that characterize other members of the species. The speckled king snake on the other hand, has a more spotted complexion in place of the solid light colored bands. The speckled king snake generally ranges from central Alabama to Texas.
The king snake takes its name from its diet which usually features other snakes. The snake is well known because of its ability to kill and eat other extremely venomous snake species such as cottonmouths and rattlesnakes. The king snake is naturally immune to pit viper venom, which gives it a substantial advantage when hunting other poisonous snakes.