Other common names

Scarlet King Snake, Scarlet Milksnake

Basic description

Most adult scarlet kingsnakes are about 14-20 inches (36-51 cm) in total length. This is a thin-bodied snake with alternating red, black, and yellow rings that encircle the body. However, the red and yellow rings do not touch. The small head is barely distinct from the neck and has a red snout. The coloration of juveniles is the same as described for adults, but the yellow rings may be white.


Scarlet kingsnakes are found throughout Florida and in every county. There have been two specimens reported from the Florida Keys, one from Key Largo and one from Key West.

Assessment of risk to people and pets

Non-venomous. Scarlet kingsnakes are not dangerous to people or pets.

Comparison with other species

thin lack, yellow, and red snake
Photo courtesy of Todd Pierson.

Harlequin coralsnake (Micrurus fulvius) Harlequin coralsnakes have alternating red and black rings separated by narrower yellow rings and a black snout.

coiled black, red, and yellow snake
Photo courtesy of Todd Pierson.

Scarletsnake (Cemophora coccinea) Scarletsnakes have red, black, and yellow (or white) rings down the body. However, the red and yellow rings do not touch. Unlike scarlet kingsnakes, the rings do not completely encircle the body. The belly is a creamy white color and lacks patterning. They have red snouts that are somewhat pointed.

Share your observations

You can help scientists better understand the biology and distribution of this species by sharing your observations. Send photos or videos of interesting observations, along with associated information, by emailing the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum for documentation in the Museum’s Herpetology Master Database. You can also post your observations on iNaturalist.

Additional helpful information

Do you have snakes around your house? Learn how to safely co-exist with snakes.

Still have questions about snakes or identifications? Feel free to email the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum with your questions or feedback on this profile.

Banner photo courtesy of Luke Smith. Please credit any photographers on the page and see our copyright policy.