Welcome to week four of #BenInNature's Herp Month presented by Carter Bank & Trust!

Welcome to week four of #BenInNature's Herp Month presented by Carter Bank & Trust!

Welcome to week four of #BenInNature's Herp Month presented by Carter Bank & Trust! This week, we'll be counting down the top five rarest snakes in Virginia, beginning with our number five choice: Lampropeltis nigra, the eastern black kingsnake!

In some states, the eastern black kingsnake is actually one of the more common snakes you'll find. It ranges from southern Illinois to Ohio, then down through the Appalachian foothills all the way to Louisiana. If you want to find one in Virginia, however, you'll have to go to the extreme southwestern tip of the state; it has only been recorded in the counties of Lee, Scott, and Washington here in the commonwealth.

Within their range, these snakes can be found at abandoned farmsteads, in debris piles, and in the thick brush near streams and swamps. Like the vast majority of Virginia's snakes, they're non-venomous and harmless to humans (in fact, not a single one of the snakes we'll be looking at this week is venomous).

Kingsnakes like this one are pretty interesting in that they're ophiophagous; that means they eat other snakes! While kingsnakes are fairly opportunistic and will eat all sorts of different prey animals, they will also prey on other snakes. In fact, some species of kingsnake are immune to snake venom and will readily eat venomous snakes!

Thank you to the Virginia Herpetological Society (www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com) for the use of this photo, which was taken by J.D. Kleopfer.

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com).

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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