Lampropeltis zonata California Mountain Kingsnake
San Ysidro Canyon, Santa Barbara County, CaliforniaAugust 28, 1999
This gorgeous red, white, and black snake was lounging on the side of the trail when our dog Max started sniffing it. The snake slithered slowly under the leaf litter and into a burrow. Slowly, but quickly enough that I didn't get a picture.

Mountain Kingsnakes seem poorly camouflaged with their bright red rings. One common theory is that they evolved this color pattern to mimic venomous coral snakes.

Printed references: