Scarlet Kingsnake Conservation - Least Concern

The conservation status for the Scarlet Kingsnake is Unknown in the state of Virginia

Scientific Name
Lampropeltis elapsoides
Central and Southern Virginia
Also Known As
Scarlet Milksnake
Red to Black To Yellow To Black Bands
Skinks, Lizards, Small Snakes
Litter Size
2 - 8 Eggs per Birth
Life Span
10 - 15 Years
14 - 20 Inches

Quick Links for Scarlet Kingsnake

Scarlet Kingsnake Description

Scarlet Kingsnake Appearance

These are thin snakes with alternating red to black to yellow to black rings. It is important to note that the yellow and red rings do not touch.

This difference is what separates the Scarlet Kingsnake from the venomous Coral Snake. Although the coral snake does not appear here in Virginia, knowing the difference between the two is important. If you can’t remember then think of this phrase:

“Red to black venom lack, red to yellow kill a fellow”


This snake is usually between 14 to 20 inches long, however, the record length for this snake is about 27 inches.

Juveniles tend to be 3 to 7 inches long.

Scarlet Kingsnake

Red to black venom lacks, and red to yellow kill a fellow.

Scarlet Kingsnake Behavior

While these snakes are not venomous they will bite if handled. If you are bitten make sure to wash the wound with soap and water to prevent infection.

These Kingsnakes are secretive, and not much is known about their behavior in the wild, especially in Virginia. What is known is that these snakes kill with constriction, and will hunt at night.

It is illegal in Virginia to keep Snakes found in the wild as pets

Range and Habitat of The Scarlet Kingsnake


They can be found in southern and central Virginia. However, due to their secretive nature and low numbers correctly identifying their range is pure guesswork. Researchers believe that they can go as far north as Spotsylvania County. But the only specimens we can find goes as far north as Henrico County


Kingsnakes prefer the same habitat as other Colubrids such as the milk snake and Copperhead. These snakes prefer forests and fields, or in other words areas with a lot of covers. However, these snakes are excellent climbers and can be found climbing trees or buildings.

Scarlet Kingsnake Map Range

Only a few sightings of this snake have been seen in Virginia.

Diet of Scarlet Kingsnake

Their main diet are lizards and small snakes, which are killed by constriction. Larger individuals will eat small mammals such as rodents, and newborns have been seen eating amphibians. They usually go out at night to hunt for these animals.

Young and Reproduction


Reproduction in these snakes has been little studied in Virginia. We can hypothesize that the mating season should be in the spring to summer. In other areas, these snakes lay their eggs underground, in rotten logs, or piles of debris

Eggs and Young

In other areas, this snake will lay about 2 – 8 eggs per birth. The young will retain the same coloration as the adults although the yellow stripes will be white and then goes yellow with age.
Scarlet Kingsnake

These snakes will bite if held.

Snake Problems?

Call Us for a Free Inspection
Schedule Appointment