Saturday, September 1, 2012

Royal Family - Kingsnakes of North Carolina

Kingsnakes, rulers of Colubridae and victors in Viperidae as well.

Family Colubridae "Snake"- encompassing the vast majority of the world's snakes, almost entirely non-venomous.

Genus Lampropeltis - "Shiny Shield"- referencing the glossy dorsal scales of these beautiful animals.

Merciless in their pursuit of sustenance, these "kings" dispatch their fellow colubrids (and the occasional venomous viper) at a rate surpassing King Henry VIII's disposal of wives. Lizards also litter the larder, and insects will do just fine too!

The Scarlet Letter; S is for Scarlet Kingsnake

Master Mimic; "Red touch yellow, kill a fellow; red touch black, friend of Jack." 

The scarlet kingsnake is a classic example of Batesian mimicry, in which a vulnerable prey animal evolves to closely resemble a venomous or toxic relative, in this case the eastern coral snake; prompting parents and scoutmasters throughout the southeast to teach their children the mnemonic "Friend of Jack" rhyme.

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