This weekend I was taking a photo class at a county park when I encountered a brightly colored snake exploring a rest area. It was calm and curious and I was unsure. Poisonous? I informed the “ranger” of my encounter and he, in turn, called on an associate who studies snakes. He said it was a non-venomous California kingsnake which he promptly picked up to allow it to slither around his arms. He later carried it further into the park away from people.
The kingsnake, this one was close to three-feet long, kills its prey by constriction and for its size is considered the strongest constrictor of any snake in the world. It is naturally resistant to rattlesnake venom. The “king” label comes from its ability to hunt and kill other snakes, including the rattlesnake.