Gray-Banded Kingsnake

Basic Information:

Scientific Name: Lampropeltis alterna

Habitat: The gray-banded kingsnake is native to the rocky desert hills, canyons, arroyos, limestone ridges and piles of boulders of the Chihuahuan Desert of southwestern Texas, southern New Mexico, and northern Mexico. 

Diet: Gray-banded kingsnakes eat mainly lizards and rodents, though occasionally they may also take frogs, birds, bats, and other snakes.

Size: 3 to 4 feet long

Weight: 3 to 4 pounds

Lifespan: Up to 15 years 

Distribution Map:

I.U.C.N. Conservation Status:

What does this mean?

Least Concern – a species determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.) to be pervasive, abundant, and thriving.

Our Gray-Banded Kingsnake:

Asa (Male) – Estimated Birthdate July 2002

Did You Know?!

  • Throughout their range, gray-banded kingsnakes conduct a somewhat secretive life. They survive the extremely hot and dry climate by spending the majority of their lives underground, in the extensive networks of deep cracks and fissures beneath the land’s surface.

  • A winter dormancy period is required prior to breeding. This dormancy period is often referred to as hibernation or brumation. It is a 10 – 12 week period in which the room temperature is allowed to drop to a constant 55F. Brumation occurs from November to March with no recorded activity for these months.

  • Researchers believe that under natural conditions, gray-banded kingsnakes seek out prey items by cornering them in crevices, under rocks, and in rodent burrows with limited means of escape.

  • The common kingsnake is known to be immune to the venom of other snakes and to eat rattlesnakes, but it is not necessarily immune to the venom of snakes from different localities. The “king” in the name (as with the king cobra) references its eating of other snakes.