People who spot Eastern kingsnakes in the wild are asked to report the sightings to a science project that examines the effect of human development on the snake’s habitat.

The “Urban Kings” project is run by Bryan Hudson, a doctoral student at Clemson University in South Carolina. The project seeks sightings from residents in DeKalb and Fulton counties, as well as from Cherokee, Cobb, Forsyth and Gwinnett.

An Eastern kingsnake as depicted on a notice from the “Urban Kings” project seeking reports of sightings from some metro Atlanta counties.

The Eastern kingsnake is a non-venomous snake that can grow to 3 to 5 feet long, though younger snakes may be much smaller. The snake is typically black with yellow or white bands around the body. Eastern kingsnakes are predators that are sometimes valued by humans for eating rodents and for their ability to kill and eat other snakes, including venomous species like copperheads. 

Several sightings reported on the “Urban Kings” Instagram page involve snakes rescued after being caught in human devices: a glue trap in Johns Creek; landscape netting in Cherokee; a garage door in Cobb; a cellar door in North Fulton.

An Eastern kingsnake spotted by a resident in Cherokee County, in a photo from the “Urban Kings” Facebook page.

People who spot an Eastern kingsnake — dead or alive — are asked to take a photo if possible and contact researchers with the report as soon as possible. The researchers may come to look at the snake but will not harm or move it. Members of the public also should not harm the snakes. The research project will continue through the end of this year, according to Hudson.

Reports can be made to Hudson at 404-556-1863 or bdhudso@g.clemson.edu, or to Samantha Kennett at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell at 678-315-2020 or samantha.kennett@gmail.com. For more information, see the “Urban Kings” Facebook page at facebook.com/UrbanKingsProject.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.