California King Snake

Range: California, U.S.A

Habitat: Desert as well as lightly forested habitats, can often be encountered near permanent bodies of water.

Natural Diet: Small mammals,  Snakes, Lizards and occasionally fish. 

Diet at RainForest: Small pre-killed rodents 

Size: 48-60" Females tend to be slightly larger than males. 

RainForest Facts: The California King snake is a highly variable snake, color patterns include banding, and stripping. Numerous unusual and aberrant color variations have been produced by pet keepers.  The female king snake deposits 6-12 leathery eggs in the late spring or early summer.  The normal incubation period for California King snake eggs is 60-75 days depending on temperature.

The name "Kingsnake" is derived from the fact that this species will eat other snakes making it the King of snakes.  This use of a common name is similar to the King Cobra who derives his name from the same habit of consuming other snakes.  The North American King Snakes are immune to the venom of our Rattlesnakes and Copperheads which often wind up on the dinner menu for this species. 

Status in Wild: Declining numbers in the wild due to over collection, primarily for the pet trade, as well as habitat destruction.  A low reproductive rate contributes to the decline of this and other snake species that are over collected for the pet trade.

Massive numbers of this snake species are kept as pets.  It is estimated by some that there are more California King snakes in captivity than in the wild.  Captive breeding programs have largely replaced the need for wild caught animals. 

Pressure still does exist for the pet trade however as professional breeders wish to secure "new" bloodlines by collecting wild animals.  Regulations are helping alleviate the pressure on wild populations. 

 

 

RainForest Adventures zoo, Smoky Mountains, Tennessee near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge TN