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King Snake Care

King Snake Care

Kingsnake (Lampropeltis)

many varieties exist including Scarlet, Mole, and Eastern Kingsnakes. The California kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula califoniae), and grey-banded kingsnake (Lampropeltis alterna) are the most popular with collectors.

Popularity: Make good house pets due to their ease of care and hardiness.

Origin: North America

Native habitat: Widely varies from desert to wetlands and forest.

Size: 3-4 feet

Lifespan: 10-15 years

Appearance: The majority of kingsnakes have vibrant patterns on their skin. Their name is a reference to their dorsal scales, and it means “shiny shield.” They are found in multitudes of colors and patterns, many of them being very beautiful.

Diet: Other snakes (ophiophagy), including venomous snakes; lizards; rodents; birds and eggs.

Activities: Kingsnakes are generally docile, curious and gentle.

Defense Mechanisms: The Common Kingsnakes are immune to the venom of other snakes.

Misc characteristics: The Scarlet Kingsnakes have coloration and patterning which resembles the venomous coral snakes. There are mnemonic rhymes to help people distinguish between the coral snake and its non-venomous look-alikes, including “Red and yellow kills a fellow. Red and black is safe for Jack.” Kingsnakes use constriction to kill their prey.



Only one Kingsnake can be placed in a house at a time, as they will eat each other. A 20-gallon aquarium tank is sufficient for housing. It should be vented, but secure to prevent escape. A temperature gradient should range from 75 to 85 degrees F at opposite ends. Humidity is not important. The substrate can be the newspaper, but the more attractive reptile carpet or aquarium gravel will work well. The reptile will need a few rocks, branches and hides or reptile caves to go into and hide around.


They eat appropriately sized rodents, pre-killed or frozen-thawed. Water should be left for them in a large bowl for bathing.

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