Scarlet kingsnakes are mostly active during the day and crepuscular periods. They can often be observed basking in the early morning. Secretive and fossorial, they spend much time buried underground or hiding beneath surface debris. When threatened, scarlet kingsnakes may vibrate their tails and release a foul-smelling musk from their cloaca.
Scarlet kingsnakes inhabit a range of ecosystems in Florida including pine flatwoods, scrub, upland hardwood forests, and human-altered environments. They seek shelter under boards, logs, and leaf litter. Inside homes, they may be found in crawl spaces, garages, and sheds.