Although the prairie kingsnake hibernates in winter, it may come out in winter on warmer, sunny days, and it comes out of hibernation earlier than other snakes.
The prairie kingsnake is a large, slender snake that grows up to 50 inches long. Its ground color is a neutral gray, tan, olive, or brown. The dark blotches are dark gray or brown, or (in southern Illinois) red-brown. The blotches may go across the back similar to bands, or may be large dots towards the sides.
Habitat and behavior:
The female lays eggs in the summer. The eggs hatch by September. Young and adults hibernate through the winter in underground chambers.
It feeds on small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and insects.
Distribution and status:
The prairie kingsnake is found in fields and prairies in the southern three-fifths of Illinois. It is found in the southern United States from the Atlantic coast to Texas.