King Snake

  • Common Group: KINGSNAKES
  • Common Name: California King Snake
  • Scientific Name: Lampropeltis g. californiae
  • Distribution: S.W. U.S.A & Baja Calif.
  • Size: 4′ – 7′

California King Snakes are a common snake pet known for their variation in color, and being durable easy to maintain snakes. The King Snake gets its name from not being shy about killing and eating other snakes (including venomous ones such as rattlesnakes), so it is definitely recommended you keep this snake in its own enclosure. King Snakes are closely related to the Milk Snake, both being part of the genus Lamproletis. The appearance of King Snakes may mimic that of more venomous, aggressive and dangerous snakes out there, but it is merely a defense mechanism that King Snakes utilize to stay competitive in the wild. King Snakes don’t pose any bit of a threat to humans.

These snakes can reach a fairly large size, with some examples reaching 6 to 7 feet in captivity. They can also live upwards of 15-20 years. The King Snake is a constrictor, known for squeezing its prey to death before eating it.

King Snake Housing

Size – Baby and young King Snakes can be housed in 10 or 20 gallon containers, with adults requiring at least a 3 foot enclosure for optimal room.

Substrate – King Snakes, being the highly variable species that they are, will thrive on close to any widly available reptile bedding. Chipped aspen (Sani-Chips) is a great choice due to its sterile and hypoallergenic nature. Shredded Aspen is another substrate that works for these active and curious snakes, both allowing them to burrow and holding the shape of those burrows for the snake to continue to reuse.

Temperature – Temperature gradient (85°F for the warm end and 75° for the cool end); recommend radiant heat (like a UTH).

Habitat – Provide a hiding area just large enough for your snake to fit inside and a branch or décor to climb on. Maintain a moderate 10 to 50% humidity; preferably a bit higher during shedding period.

Lighting – Provide 8 to 12 hours of light daily, preferably with an automatic timer so you don’t forget to turn on/off. Don’t leave white light on at all times; a nocturnal or infrared light should be used at night.