The Speckled kingsnake is a nonvenomous snake, which is native to the United States. Its common name is derived from the pattern, which is black, with small yellow-white specks, one speck in the center of almost every dorsal scale. This snake is also known as the "salt-and-pepper snake".
Speckled kingsnakes are found in the central and southern United States from southern Iowa to the Gulf of Mexico. They inhabit wet habitats, like swamps and rivers, but they do commonly venture to dry areas like woodlands and grassy fields.
Speckled kingsnakes are solitary and primarily terrestrial creatures. They are active from spring through late autumn and during cold winter months hibernate in crevices or underground in abandoned burrows. Speckled kingsnakes hunt by day but in winter they may switch to nocturnal activity. They use constriction to kill their prey and tend to be opportunistic in their diet. Speckled kingsnakes are usually docile and harmless. If sensing danger they will shake their tail like a rattlesnake to deter predators. They may also expel musk and feces or bite when feeling threatened.
Speckled kingsnakes breed in spring when they emerge after hibernation. Females lay 6-23 eggs and the young usually hatch between August and September.
Speckled kingsnakes are not threatened at present but they suffer from habitat loss are often collected for the pet trade.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Speckled kingsnake total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.