Pinellas Sand King Snake Lampropeltis getula floridana/getula

 

Below: A speckled adult male Pinellas sand king snake from our colony showing traits of both the Florida and eastern king snake

Pinellas Sand King Snake Lampropeltis getula floridana-getula Pinellas County, Florida

The Pinellas "Sand King" bloodline descends from stock collected in sandy upland areas of Pinellas County, Florida. Some have described specimens of this bloodline as the most beautiful snakes of the eastern/Florida king complex. These snakes are rare in both the wild and captivity.

Below: An adult female from our colony with a high contrast pattern

Pinellas Sand King Snake Lampropeltis getula floridana-getula

Pinellas County is at the southern edge of the intergrade zone between the Florida and eastern king snake subspecies. This bloodline is characterized by more widely-spaced bands than the typical Florida kingsnake and interband speckling that creates a very pleasing effect. Our examples differ from snakes of the old Len Krysko Pinellas County line which were dark with very little speckling. The Krysko line descends from stock collected in black muck mangrove areas, while the SandKing line descends from white sand scrubby areas. King snakes from the Sand King line are described as "Osceola-Suwannee" morphs in the book Common Kingsnakes by Brian Hubbs. While the accuracy of that label is debatable since these snakes do not descend from anywhere near Osceola National Forest or the Suwannee River, the photos in the book have helped to increase the popularity of this line among king snake enthusiasts.

Below: An outstanding adult female Pinellas sand king snake from our colony showing an aberrant pattern

Pinellas Sand King Snake Lampropeltis getula floridana-getula Aberrant

 

 

In the Wild

Below: Cabbge palms and wax myrtle in a scrubby area

Scrub Pinellas County, Florida

Pinellas county is one of the most densely developed counties in Florida. While king snakes were reportedly once common in this area, they are now very hard to come by as their habitat is has been turned into housing developments, golf courses and parking lots. Historically king snakes occurred in many habitats of the area including mangrove swamps, pine flatwoods, and sandy scrub.

Below: Upland strand habitat near the edge of a mangrove swamp

 Strand Pinellas County, Florida

It seems that nearly every herper who grew up in Pinellas County prior to the 1990's has stories of snakes. The most frequently mentioned species are eastern diamondback rattlesnake and king snake. One herper described finding both species along the railroad tracks as he walked home from school. Others mentioned finding king snakes under trash near the edges of mangrove swamps. Today houses and neighborhood streets surround the old railroad tracks. Shopping centers have been built over the old trash piles.

Below: Black mangroves at the edge of a mangrove swamp

Black Mangrove Pinellas County, Florida

Today, even where suitable habitat exists, king snakes are difficult to find.  The classic methods of finding kings like flipping trash or walking artificial edges are difficult to employ here. There isn't a lot of trash in prime locations to flip and most of the remaining  habitat doesn't have the right layout for productive "bank walking" style hunting. Even so, a few ambitious individuals have made an effort to locate king snakes and have some success. Every once in a while a king snake does pop up and this is cause for celebration among the local herping community.

Below: A wild king snake from Pinellas County, Florida

Pinellas County Sand King Snake Lampropeltis getula floridana-getula Pinellas County, Florida

 

 

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