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Nature Journal -The Eastern Kingsnake: Georgia’s Gentle Monarch




In Georgia's gardens, the Eastern Kingsnake reigns with a quiet yet commanding presence. It is getting warm now, you may encounter them in your gardens, backyards, or hiking trails. Growing up in the centers of cities, I used to be scared of snakes. But ever since we have our garden, I got used to them and learned to appreciate their roles in nature. These kings of the serpent world are as beneficial as they are fascinating.


Did you know:

  • Noble Lineage: Eastern Kingsnakes are recognized by their impressive length, reaching up to 48 inches, and their resistance to the venom of fellow royals of the serpent world, such as copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes. They partake in a royal diet, feasting on these venomous subjects, hence the 'king' in their name.

  • Royal Hunters: Unlike their ambush-hunting viper cousins, kingsnakes actively seek out prey, navigating through underbrush with a sensory prowess that rivals the most skilled predators. They chase down their prey with a combination of keen senses and swift, stealthy movement.

  • Imperial Defense: When cornered, the Eastern Kingsnake employs a variety of defensive tactics worthy of a sovereign. From emitting a foul-smelling musk to mimicking the rattling of a rattlesnake, they ward off would-be attackers with a cunning only a king could muster.

  • Sovereign Senses: Boasting an excellent sense of sight, unmatched by other serpents, the Eastern Kingsnake's regal bearing is further enhanced by its acute ability to detect chemical trails with its forked tongue, allowing it to track prey or evade predators.

  • Adaptable Predators: Eastern kingsnakes, solitary by nature, spend their days actively hunting and may turn nocturnal in the summer's heat. They thrive on the ground, in the trees, and in water, hibernating in winter and displaying an impressive immunity to the venom of the snakes they prey upon.


Wildlife Garden Tips:

- Leaf Litter Homes: Encourage kingsnake residency by leaving areas of your garden untouched with leaf debris and logs.


- Native Plantings: Cultivate indigenous plants to provide a habitat for the kingsnake's prey, which, in turn, invites the kingsnakes.


Encountering these serpents in your garden is a rare privilege, reflecting the health of your local ecosystem. Admire them from a distance, and they'll repay you by keeping the natural order :)


Reference Links:

- Georgia Wildlife Federation: [https://gwf.org](https://gwf.org)

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