While visiting southern Illinois, I came across two of these fine serpents basking only a few feet away from each other.
This snake is a naturally occurring intergrade between a Speckled Kingsnake and an Eastern Black Kingsnake. They have varying amounts of yellow speckles and in some cases a faint chain pattern on a dark body.
Shawnee Kingsnakes average 36 to 48 inches in length and have shiny, smooth scales. One specimen that I found was going through a shed cycle and had eyes that appeared to be milky blue.
These reptiles are quite adaptable to a wide range of habitats from forests and bluffs, to rocky hills, open woods and stream valleys.
Shawnee Kingsnakes are powerful constrictors and predators of other reptiles, including snakes, as well as eating birds and small mammals.
They tend to be slow and deliberate in their movements. They are a fun snake to encounter in the wild and I enjoy seeing them each time I come across one.