Prairie or Yellow-bellied kingsnakes are endemic to the United States. It has a range that starts at northern Florida and extends to southern parts of Texas, then north into Nebraska, Illinois, Kentucky, and Maryland.
They thrive in open areas like fields, barnyards, prairies, farmland, rocky hillsides, thickets, open woodland, Flatwoods, and pastures. Habitats with dry, loose soil and a permanent source of water. Prairie kingsnakes spend a lot of time underground and are very secretive. They can also be found in residential areas. They feed primarily on rodents, their diet also includes small mammals and other small animals like bird, lizards and other snakes. The breeding period is at the end of spring to early summer and females lay up to 17 eggs. The eggs are laid underground in the summer and hatch in late summer to early fall.
The snake grows an average length range of 30-40 inches. It has smooth scales with light brown or grey pigmentation and blotches colored dark brown or reddish-brown that decorate the length of the dorsum. The pattern fades with age and older specimen may not have them at all. Females have relatively shorter tails that taper quickly after the vents. Juveniles display a brown line that runs down their back and two black spots behind the head.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians