The range of Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum spans the United States east of the Rockies, as well as southern Canada, Mexico, and Central America. In winter, the snakes congregate in hibernacula, where their collective mass provides the thermal moderation that individual physiology fails to supply. As the season warms, adults mate and then disperse. Before spring gives way to summer, females lay clutches of 6 to 20 eggs in warm, humid nests. Young hatch within 28 to 39 days, but by then their mothers have moved on.
To attract these solitary predators, provide ample nesting sites in the form of dry-stacked stone walls with southern exposures, preferably near a compost pile or hedge. When it’s time to mow or power up a string trimmer, first disturb high grasses with the gentle sweep of a stick to urge snakes back to safety in their burrows.
“Red on yellow will kill a fellow, but red on black is a friend of Jack.” —Folk saying
Photograph by Jack Thomas
Originally published in Organic Gardening magazine, June/July 2014