ANIMAL: Gray-Banded Kingsnake Lampropeltis alterna Type of Animal: Colubrid Habitat: Desert (especially w/ rocky areas) Location(s): Trans-Pecos/Chihuahuan Desert of W Texas, far SE New Mexico, N Chihuahua Appearance: Gray background w/ black/white accenting & red/orange banding, small wide head, large eyes Food/Diet: Lizards, snakes (including each other & venomous snakes), amphibians, rodents, rabbits, birds, eggs Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in zoos, wildlife centers, & herpetoculture Lifestyle: Solitary Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young: Snakelet Group: Solitary Weight: Male: 1.5 lbs Female: 2 lbs Gestation: 9-10 weeks Life Span: 15-20 years Body Length: Male: 3 ft Female: 4 ft Young: 1 ft Tail Length: Male: 0.75 ft Female: 0.5 ft Main predators are larger snakes, raptors, bobcats, cats, coyotes, foxes, roadrunners, badgers, skunks, weasels, raccoons, ringtails, & peccaries. These nonvenomous snakes kill prey by constriction. Sexually mature at 1-3 years old. Active at night (nocturnal). These snakes are very shy & secretive in the wild. Sometimes called Davis Mountain Kingsnake. Females lay clutches of 3-13 eggs in early summer. Juveniles shed more often than adults. They hibernate in cooler weather. When they hatch, they’re immediately on their own. These snakes are primarily terrestrial. These snakes highly beneficial due to eating rodents & venomous snakes. Fights between males involve ritualistic biting & wrestling w/ intertwined bodies attempting to pin each other. They spend much of the year underground, winter to stay warm & summer to prevent dehydration. Fun Fact(s): To defend themselves, they may hiss/bite/smear feces/discharge musk. Other times, they’ll play dead. Name “king” comes from habit of eating other snakes. Very common in pet trade & usually very docile species. Almost impervious to snake venom. Sometimes crossbred w/ other kingsnake species in captivity.