Photo © by Suzanne L. Collins
Used by permission
Length in Kansas up to 71 3/4 inches.
Found from the western third of Kansas southeastward through southern Flint Hills
to the Ozark Plateau in southeast corner of state; with the exception of an isolated
record for southern Miami County, absent from entire northeastern quarter of Kansas.
Harmless. Smooth scales; yellowish brown color on the rear part of the slender
body; body scales have braided appearance. Two distinct color variants: may be uniform
light yellowish brown along entire length of body (western Kansas) or jet black on the
front half, gradually becoming yellowish brown on the rear or completely black
(southeastern Kansas). Belly whitish with indistinct small spots (west) or black on the
front half and light on the rear (southeast). Young are yellowish brown with dark brown
crossbands on front of body that fade and disappear on rear. Belly white, with two rows of
dark spots on front half.
Found in widely varying habitat, from open grassland prairies in western Kansas to
rocky hillsides in open woodlands in southeastern part of state. Active from April to
October; completely diurnal, even during the hottest hours of day. Lays 4-11 eggs in
summer which hatch in fall. Feeds on bats, mice, birds, lizards and smaller snakes.
Click here for
information on precautions against being bitten by snakes
and what to do if you have been bitten by one.
Text: Joseph T. Collins & Suzanne L. Collins
Photos: Suzanne L. Collins & Bob Gress
Range Maps & Web Design: Jim Mason