Q: I saw a kingsnake next to a big pile of wood chip mulch. If it is a female and has laid eggs in the pile, are the eggs are protected by law like the snake is?
A:Jason Clark at Southeastern Reptile Rescue (SnakesAreUs.com) says that unless the area is specifically protected under Georgia law, there’s nothing that prevents disturbing or destroying wildlife habitat. Cottonmouths, copperheads, and rattlesnakes all give birth to live babies. So these would not be the eggs of a poisonous snake.
Consider yourself a lucky gardener to have a kingsnake on your property. It is true that they can lay eggs in a wood chip or compost pile, but since kingsnakes are non-venomous, you don’t need to worry about being bitten. If you find eggs when shoveling your wood chips, just leave them where they are. The eggs will hatch in 55 to 75 days, depending on the weather. The young kingsnakes will disperse from the pile after hatching and you will not likely see them again.