California Kingsnake – Lampropeltis getula californiae

California kingsnakes are among the most commonly kept pet snakes, and for good reason. Conference kingsnake captive requirements is easy as soon as you prioritize reptile health and wellness, high quality husbandry, and also proper line supplies. The California kingsnake is one of plenty of subspecies the the typical kingsnake. Kingsnakes range from shore to coast and north to southern in all 48 contiguous joined States. Once a snake has this broad of a distribution, and lives in so plenty of habitats and conditions, that is a good indicator that it will certainly adapt quickly to a life in captivity.

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The California kingsnake wake up in California and touches the bordering states of Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and also Baja California. It is among the very first snakes to be bred on regular basis in captivity and many patterns and also morphs have been developed.


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California Kingsnake Availability

California kingsnakes room still common in the wild (check for state legislations regulating collecting from the wild) in many areas. However, that is valuable to acquire a captive-bred, parasite-free, established (feeding ~ above rodents) kingsnake through lineage and genetic properties records. Captive-bred California kingsnakes can be purchased at pet shops, reptile shows, from breeders, and sometimes at virtual reptile shops.


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Gina Cioli/I-5 Studio

An albino California kingsnake.


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California Kingsnake Size

California kingsnakes flower from your eggs in ~ 8 to 12 inches. Preferably adult size for California kingsnakes is much more than 6 feet in length, although median size is 3 to 4 feet. California kingsnakes room not a bulky or hefty snake, for this reason they seem smaller than they in reality are.

California Kingsnake Life Span

California kingsnakes often live for much more than 20 years. Females California kingsnakes often develop fertile eggs right into their short teens.

California Kingsnake Caging

A general preeminence is the if the snake crawls about the perimeter that the cage and doesn’t cover much more than 2/3 the the distance, the cage is huge enough – but bigger is better. A infant California kingsnake have the right to live in a shoebox-sized cage for number of months till it outgrows it. An adult California kingsnake needs a 20-gallon reptile terrarium or larger enclosure. Be sure it has a secure, escape-proof opening. If over there is a weakness, the kingsnake will uncover it and also escape!


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Gina Cioli/I-5 Studio

Banana California kingsnake.


California kingsnakes will eat other snakes and should be kept alone or in breeding groups that no much more than one male and also several adult females. Warning: execute not raise youth California kingsnakes together, they might eat every other. Wait until adult size, much more than 2 feet, come introduce and watch them to be sure of nonaggression. Separate to feed and keep different for a couple of hours.

California Kingsnake Lighting and Temperature

California kingsnakes need no distinct lighting if the cage is in a room with natural light. Be sure not to place the cage in or close to a home window where the sun will light on the cage, or that can end up being too hot and fatal for your kingsnake.


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California kingsnakes thermoregulate in the wild. Lock move about to find and maintain (when castle can) a desired temperature. Being “cold blooded” they become the temperature of their surroundings. In captivity, selections are limited to what you provide so girlfriend should have a heat end and a cool end of your cage.

There are countless heaters, pads, cables and tape easily accessible from certified dealer to achieve this. Some civilization use lights for heat, yet this is not an efficient use the energy and also has disadvantages. Because that instance, you can warm the air with the light, however the floor can still be also cool because that the snake. Try to accomplish 85 degrees Fahrenheit at one end and also in the 70s in ~ the cool end. Perform not usage “hot rocks,” the warmth is too central and can cause burns. If you are in search of a warmth pad to use, the Zilla heat Mats Reptile Terrarium Heater v a Zilla Terrarium Heat and Habitat Controller.


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Gina Cioli/I-5 Studio

A “normal” California kingsnake.


California Kingsnake Substrate

Many advertising substrates and also beddings because that reptiles are available. Stop cat litter and any chemically treated substrates and also oily woods. General rule, if it looks good and doesn’t offer off a smell, that is OK. Feed your California kingsnake in a different container if the substrate could be ingested when feeding. Newspaper, document towels and indoor carpet are fine, but if the snake can’t partially burrow in her substrate, friend might consider a hide (Zoo Med Habba Hut) or two in the cage for security.

California Kingsnake Food

In the wild, California kingsnakes will eat just about any animal or bird small enough to it is in overpowered and also swallowed whole, including rattlesnakes. In captivity they should be fed rodents, usually mice, which are easily available. You can offer live reptile food or well-thawed frozen mice. Live adult mice have the right to inflict wounds to your kingsnake. Fresh killed is a safer choice.

The mouse should leaving a bump in the kingsnake a tiny larger 보다 the snake’s regular diameter mid body. Till the line is developed with you, carry out not take care of it till the lump has digested down to normal diameter the the snake. Feeding when a mainly will maintain your California kingsnake, however the snake will certainly grow quicker if you feed it twice a week or more, if it will take it. When the kingsnake will adult size, avoid obesity. Reduce feeding if necessary.

California Kingsnake Water

Provide a fresh water bowl the is deep enough that when the bowl is fifty percent filled and the line goes in to soak, the water will certainly not overflow into the cage. You desire a dried cage. If the humidity boosts in the cage to wherein it looks or feel moist, eliminate the water and also only market it a pair days a week. Clean the water bowl together needed.

California Kingsnake Handling and also Temperament

Even despite California kingsnakes have actually been captive bred because that generations, your snake is still wild through nature. Your new kingsnake could take a protective stance and also shake that is tail and also strike at you. It may defecate or urinate on you as soon as you pick it up. This potential habits is a natural, wild an answer to discourage you (a potential predator) from eat it. The is afraid!

With regular, gentle handling, her California kingsnake need to settle in and also make a great pet. Hand end hand, staying away native its face, v gentle friction to slow-moving forward progress, is the preferred an approach for start handling.

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Don’t take care of your snake as soon as it is about to shed. The method to detect this is that their eyes will look “milky” or bluish. After a couple of days they will certainly clear and a couple of days after the the snake must crawl the end of its whole skin (shed, slough). This care sheet is a really brief summary of a topic that would certainly require an entire book to completely cover. Be certain to consult specialists if you have additional questions or have any kind of problems. Enjoy your California kingsnake!

Bob Applegate has been known for more than 25 years together a breeder of quality and rare reptiles. His name is on 2 strains the snakes: the Applegate Arizona hill Kingsnake and also the Applegate mountain Diego Gopher Snake. Visit his website at ApplegateReptiles.com because that articles, pictures, and more information.