Yellow Rat Snake
Pantherophis (Elaphe) obsoleta quadrivittata

Yellow rat snakes are typically three to six feet in length and yellowish-brown in color with four black stripes running the length of their body. Their belly is whitish in color near the head and becomes checkered or mottled toward the tail. Rat snakes occupy a wide variety of habitats including hardwood forests, river floodplains, and swamp margins.  Rat snakes are non-venomous constrictors, primarily eating mice, rats, squirrels, birds, and bird eggs. Juveniles eat small frogs, lizards, and small rodents. Rat snakes are constrictors, and very good climbers. They are common to all parts of Kiawah Island and are often found in trees.

Rough Green Snake
Opheodrys aestivus

Rough Green Snakes are long (up to 32 inches) and slender with bright green scales and a yellow or whitish belly.  They spend much of their time climbing in vegetation. Their bright green color easily distinguishes them from other snakes in our area. They can be found in a variety of habitats but are most common in open forests and edge habitats. Rough green snakes are non-venomous and enjoy hanging out near or over water where they can easily find their favorite prey: insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. When encountered, they often freeze, relying on their coloration for camouflage.

Eastern Kingsnake
Lampropeltis getula

Eastern kingsnakes are non-venomous constrictors. They can grow up to 5 feet long and have shiny-black, smooth-scales with white or yellow bands that cross their back and connect along their sides in a chain link pattern. Because of this pattern they are sometimes referred to as the chain kingsnake. Eastern kingsnakes are found in many habitats including forests, swamps, hammocks, tidal wetlands, and even farmlands and suburban areas. They consume a variety of prey including lizards, rodents, birds, and even other snakes. Kingsnakes are resistant to the venom of pit-vipers and have been know eat copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes.

Birds of Kiawah Checklist

Kiawah Island is home to more than 200 species of birds, ranging in size from the tiny ruby-throated hummingbird all the way up to the bald eagle. Check out this checklist of the birds of Kiawah Island published buy the Town of Kiawah.

Checklist of the Birds of Kiawah Isalnd, South Carolina: Town of Kiawah Island, February 2017

Please report any rare or unusual sightings to the Town of Kiawah Island wildlife biologists at 843-768-9166 or agiven@kiawahisland.org.

Ringed-billed Gull
Larus delawarensis

Ring-billed gulls are medium sized birds with gray backs and white heads. As one would imagine, a ring-billed gull has a black ring on its yellow bill. However, one of the most distinguishing features of this bird is its distinct white spots on jet black wing tips. The ring-billed gull is reportedly the most common gull in North America. Although they are present year-round at Kiawah's beach and ponds, the are most common in the winter.

Photo by Pamela Cohen