King Snake Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

You probably know that kings rule. Find out why the king snake is a king in the snake world, and learn facts about its life like where it lives, what it looks like, and how it kills its prey.

Why the King Snake Is a King

In fairy tales, there are good kings and bad kings. The king snake might be a little of both. These non-venomous snakes help people by killing rodents that could carry diseases. But the snake world fears king snakes because they often kill and eat other snakes, even venomous ones!

A king snake eating another snake.
king snake

King snakes are immune to venom, which is a poisonous fluid that is injected into prey by a bite. This natural immunity allows them to fight and kill venomous snakes, like rattlesnakes, making the king snake a ruler in the snake world.

What Do They Look Like and Where Do They Live?

A scarlet king snake has three colored bands.
king snake

There are a number of different species of king snakes, and the species often differ in appearance. But many have alternating light and dark bands that circle the snake's body, like the scarlet king snake, which has black, red, and yellow or white bands, and the common king snake, which has white or yellow bands around its shiny black body. Adult common king snakes are about three to six feet in length.

This common king snake has white bands on its black body.
king snake

King snakes live in North America, which means we find them in the United States. They live on the ground, spending their time in fields and wooded areas or slithering around old buildings looking for dinner.

What Do They Eat?

King snakes are carnivores, which means they are meat eaters. They eat rodents, birds, lizards, eggs, frogs, and other snakes.

Never accept a hug from a king snake because king snakes are constrictors. Constrictors kill their prey by squeezing them until they stop breathing. When a king snake is hungry, it bites its prey to get a firm grip, and then curls around its victim's body and squeezes so tightly that the animal suffocates.

A typical king snake dinner is so filling that the snake doesn't have to eat again for a few days.

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