The speckled kingsnake is a subspecies of the common kingsnake found in eastern Iowa, southwestern Illinois and south central Alabama. Speckled kingsnakes are one of the smaller subspecies and are black with yellow specks along their sides with yellow to white bellies. Speckled kingsnakes can adapt to a variety of habitats and are found at higher elevations than many other subspecies.
Speckled kingsnakes hunt during the day during warmer months and hibernate during winter. Kingsnakes often specialize in eating other types of snakes, including venomous snakes, but speckled kingsnakes also eat birds, eggs, lizards, mice and rats. They are non-venomous and are an important species for keeping venomous snake numbers in check. The common kingsnake is widespread in North America and is not in danger of extinction.
Male kingsnakes compete for mating access in the spring, coiling around one another and wrestling. After mating is complete, eggs are gestated for about 60 days. Once the eggs are laid in a nest within a rotting log or stump, the female abandons them. After hatching, newborn snakes stay in their nests until they shed their skins for the first time, after which they disperse. They reach sexual maturity once they reach about half of their maximum size; the amount of time this takes varies based on food availability and parasite exposure.