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California King Snake

All About the California King Snake

The California King Snake can be anywhere from three to six feet long, with the average being three to four feet. Its coloring can differ from snake to snake but is basically black or dark brown with white rings. Sometimes the wings can be yellowish. They can be found throughout California from the Baja north to the Oregon border.

The California King Snake is non-venomous, and in fact, eats venomous snakes. It is not immune to venom but can tolerate it. A venomous bite to the head or heart could kill the King Snake. They are a constrictor and kill their prey by wrapping themselves around it and suffocating it. They also eat mice, rats, lizards, birds, eggs, frogs and turtles. The snake has a hinged jaw which can unhinge to allow for the eating of large prey such as rattlesnakes and medium-sized mammals.

The snake has twenty-three rows of smooth scales on its body. Like many snakes, it cannot see well and uses smell to locate prey and predators. It received its name because of the fact that it eats dangerous snakes--so it must be “king of the snakes.” The snake is considered to be docile to humans, especially in captivity, but it can be aggressive and attack if provoked.

The California King Snake gives birth to their young by laying eggs. They usually mate once a year but it is possible for them to have two hatches a year. The normal period involves mating in March to June and laying the eggs between May and August. Baby snakes are eight to thirteen inches long and must take care of themselves as soon as they have hatched. They are capable of catching and eating baby mice.

California King Snakes inhabit forests and woodlands, marshes, grassland, farmland and ranches, deserts and suburban areas.  Its predators include medium to large mammals, birds, other snakes, and humans. A California King Snake will eat another of his own species .

California King Snakes are one of the species most often sold as pets. If you intend to get one of these snakes, make sure that it is from a reputable breeder and has not been taken out of the wild. They require a very large, glass tank, a minimum of twenty gallons, and they eat mice, which you buy frozen and then defrost. Some California King Snake owners say their snakes will not eat defrosted or fresh kill, but must be given live mice. They need fresh water at all times, a place to hide, and one side of the tank heated. They are said to be very nippy before they settle down and are comfortable with their new home.




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