lifestyle Science

California Kingsnake Facts.

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The California kingsnake is a nonvenomous snake indigenous to the western United States and northern Mexico. Due to the simplicity of care and a wide variety of color variations, the California kingsnake is one of the most popular snakes in captivity. These snakes are generally dark brown or black in color with whitish-yellow stripes. The “king” in their name relates to their tendency to hunt and consume other snakes, notably dangerous rattlesnakes, that are often endemic to their natural environment.

Kingsnakes may cost less than $100 and come in a broad array of morphs and coloration. The most popular are the banana and striped variants.

For someone wishing to adopt their first snake, this species makes a fantastic pet. They are easy to care for, flourish in various habitat configurations and have a lively demeanour.

The California Kingsnake originates initially from the state of California. Interestingly this kind of snake is immune to most snake venoms. Because of their immunity, they are a predator of many poisonous species. They are renowned as the “king” of snakes and hunt pit vipers.

First found in 1835, these snakes currently occupy much of the western United States.

California Kingsnakes may be found in woods, prairies, deserts and many other environments.

The natural colour for this snake is alternating white and black stripes. However, some morph variants of whites, yellows, browns, and blacks in distinct patterns.

Habits and Lifestyle

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A California kingsnake crawls between the rocks. (Image Credit: Getty Images)

California kingsnakes are typically diurnal but may become progressively nocturnal during times of scorching weather. They are generally terrestrial but may climb low branches and plants. They usually are alone unless when they hibernate during winter weather. In the winter, they burrow underground and undergo a hibernation-like condition termed brumation. When startled, California kingsnakes will typically coil their bodies to cover their heads, hiss, and rattle their tails, which may generate a sound somewhat mimicking that of a rattlesnake. They are generally safe to people; however, if touched, it is usual for this species to bite and emit musk and faecal materials from their cloaca.

California Kingsnake Diet and Nutrition

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California Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula californiae, eating a rattlesnake. Controlled Situation
(Image Credit: Getty Images)

Every species of snake is carnivorous.

This snake is not finicky when it comes to its nutrition.

Kingsnakes are a sort of constrictor snake; therefore, they squeeze the life out of their victim before devouring it. In the wild, they will devour any little creature or animal they can catch:

  • Birds
  • Frogs
  • Lizards
  • Rodents
  • Snakes

In confinement, your pet snake will enthusiastically consume practically any food presented to him.

You mustn’t feed them while they are actively shedding.

You should also not provide live prey to prevent your snake from getting hurt. All prey should be acquired frozen and thawed before being fed. California Kingsnakes may be fed a diet of mice, chicks and lizards.

Hatchlings should be given one prey item each week.

Adults may be moved over to being fed once every 14 days.

Owners should be aware that they might be enthusiastic eaters. You should exercise care while feeding them so that you are not unintentionally bitten.

If your snake ignores the prey for more than two hours, then remove it from the cage. Try and feed fresh prey a few days later.

It is crucial not to touch a Kingsnake before or after feeding for at least 24 hours.

Reproduction

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kingsnake, californa (Image Credit: Getty Images)

This is an oviparous snake species, meaning it lays eggs. The California kingsnake mating season occurs from March through June and includes the males battling eligible female snakes. The female will deposit the eggs from May to August.

It lays roughly 5 to 12 eggs in every clutch (although clutches of 20 or more are conceivable), and the eggs hatch about 6 to 10 weeks later. The baby King Snakes are around 8 to 13 inches (20 to 33cm) in length.

The California kingsnake achieves its sexual maturity about 3 to 4 years. The mother does not take care of its offspring after they hatch like most reptiles. In the wild, usually, the snake lays eggs once a year. While not frequent, it’s conceivable that it occurs twice a year.

Related: How do snakes mate ?

Baby California Kingsnakes

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baby California kingsnake (Image Credit: Getty Images)

Breeding happens typically in March, April or May (i.e. at the end of brumation) (i.e. around the end of brumation). Females will give out a unique pheromone to communicate to males they are ready to be bred.

It takes roughly four weeks after breeding for a female to deposit eggs.

California Kingsnakes deposit 5 to 15 eggs that are white and oval in form.

It generally takes six to nine weeks for the eggs to hatch after being deposited.

Hatchlings break through their egg with their egg teeth and spend their first few hours consuming the leftovers of the egg yolk. They are typically born eight to ten inches in length.

Are California Kingsnakes Good Pets?

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CONCORD, CA – OCTOBER 27: Alana Ball, 12, of Concord, holds a California kingsnake brought by Mount Diablo Interpretive Association during the Bay Area Science Festival at Cal State East Bay-Concord in Concord, Calif., on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. The event featured lectures, games and several activities for kids interested in science.
(Image Credit: Getty Images)

Many novice keepers adore this species for its meek but extroverted attitude. They are also resilient snakes that flourish in captivity.

In captivity, they perform well on a diet of thawed frozen mice and do not require a sophisticated setup. They need a basking location, a daytime temperature of 80 degrees and a secure 40-gallon tank.

Pros

  • Easy to care for and does not need a complicated tank setup.
  • They are pretty affordable when compared to other species and cost less than $100.
  • There are various colour and pattern morph options available.

Cons

  • Their enthusiastic behaviour when feeding might lead to inadvertent bites.
  • Kingsnakes may grow to four feet in length and need a bigger tank than most pet snakes.
  • Juveniles may be challenging to manage to owe to their flighty nature.

Are California Kingsnakes Aggressive?

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close up of california kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula californiae (Image Credit: Getty Images)

Adults are calm in captivity and seldom display hostility towards people. California kingsnakes are not poisonous. If an accidental impact does occur, then wipe out the wound with soap and warm water.

They do pretty well when managed correctly. However, youngsters are highly active and challenging to manage, given their speed and agility.

These snakes may be handled every day but should not be touched the day they shed or eat.

Open-mouth breathing and tail shaking are symptoms of stress. Allow them to wander freely and do not hold them down since this might trigger unjustified aggressiveness.

California Kingsnake Price

California Kingsnakes typically cost $50 to $100.Rarer morphs such as the banana will cost closer to $200.

Before acquiring a Kingsnake, it is vital to evaluate them for any health issues. You should inspect their eyes, ears, mouth and vent for debris or secretions. This is generally one of the earliest symptoms of health difficulties.

California Kingsnakes are quite simple to locate and may be acquired from many pet shops.It is essential to get them from a reliable breeder. This will guarantee that they are free of parasites and have a more docile and controllable disposition.

Summary

California Kingsnakes are one of the most popular pet snakes.

They are placid but energetic and thrive in a variety of settings and cages.

Kingsnakes are appropriate for both first-time snake owners and those with past expertise. However, first-time owners should use long forceps during feeding to avoid inadvertent hits.

The main negative is their immense size as some grow to reach nearly six feet in length. Because of this, some novices choose the smaller corn snake or ball python.

Also Read: Finger Monkey (Pygmy mammoth)

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