King snakes and coral snakes often get confused for each other. They can be separated into two distinct groups. Kingsnakes are a type of colubrid snake which are members of the Lampropeltis genus. There are forty five sub-species of snake that are also members of the Lampropeltis genus family and most notably the milk snake. The coral snake is a one of the sixty five sub species of snake that make up the elapid snake family.
Lampropeltis means shiny shield as the king snake is known for its bright dorsal scales. King snakes are usually bright colors and this is why they are so commonly mistaken for coral snakes. King snakes from North America are much larger than the three foot long coral snakes. King snakes are given the name “king” because of their dominance over other snakes much like the king cobra. They are famous for killing and eating rattle snakes. The main difference between coral snakes from king snakes is that coral snakes are venomous. They have small fangs on the top of their mouth and will hold onto their prey for a long time to inject the necessary venom
King snakes are very popular pets. They are generally docile, curious, and gentle with their owners. The snake care for king snakes is very simple in comparison to most snakes. Coral snakes also make great pets and they account for less than one percent of the United States snake bites each year. Almost every case has occurred naturally by accidental human contact during an outdoor activity. Luckily coral snake bites are rare because they possess the most potent venom of any snake in North America.
The Scarlet Kingsnake is most commonly mistaken for a coral snake. There are nursery rhymes that were made up to help people remember the poisonous coral snake from its non venomous counterpart, the king snake. “Red and yellow kills a fellow. Red and black is safe for Jack.”
Here is an example of a king snake:
Here is an example of a coral snake: