The genus Lampropeltis of colubrid snakes includes the King snakes and also the milk snake. These snakes eat rodents and can get quite large.
Lampropeltis means "shiny shields" and the majority of king snakes have quite vibrant patterns on their skin. King snakes are constrictors and tend to be opportunistic when it comes to their diet; they will eat other snakes (ophiophagy), lizards, rodents, birds, and eggs. They are highly resistant to the venom of other snakes, and have been known to eat them. The "king" in their name (as with the King cobra) is a reference to their taste for other snakes.
Species in this genus include the following. In many cases there are numerous subspecies:
- Grey-Banded Kingsnake (Lampropeltis alterna)
- Prairie Kingsnake Lampropeltis calligaster
- Common Kingsnake Lampropeltis getula
- Speckled Kingsnake Lampropeltis getula holbrooki
- California Kingsnake Lampropeltis getula californiae
- Florida Kingsnake Lampropeltis getula floridana
- Potosi Kingsnake Lampropeltis mexicana
- Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake Lampropeltis pyromelana
- Ruthven's Kingsnake Lampropeltis ruthveni
- Milk Snake Lampropeltis triangulum (many subspecies)
- California Mountain King Snake Lampropeltis zonata