In the wild, California kingsnakes will eat just about any animal or bird small enough to be overpowered and swallowed whole, including rattlesnakes. In captivity they should be fed rodents, usually mice, which are readily available. You can offer live reptile food or well-thawed frozen mice.
between 10 and 15 years
California King Snakes make excellent pets , and they are a fairly common snake to own. Especially for first timers. These slithery little fellows are easy to maintain, don’t get too big, and are typically friendly and docile.
Feed baby snakes about once every five to seven days (once a week is fine). This is an adequate feeding schedule until the snake is a year old. Snakes grow fastest during the first year of their lives. Adult snakes can be fed less frequently, about once every ten days, or once every other week.
If they are threatened, kingsnakes will emit an unpleasant musk and shake their tails. This is another example of Batesian mimicry, this time of a rattlesnake. They are also known to bite , though their bite is not poisonous to humans.
Kingsnakes squeeze their prey to death, are immune to rattlesnake venom and are so named for their astonishing ability to overpower and eat snakes that are much larger than they are. Once the rat snakes are vanquished, the kingsnakes have little trouble swallowing their foes whole.
That said, California kingsnakes are opportunistic feeders and common food items include rodents, birds, other reptiles and amphibians. All kingsnakes are non-venomous, but are powerful constrictors and generally kill their prey through suffocation.
Kingsnake bites are not dangerous. Kingsnakes are constrictors, and the bite from a constricting colubrid snake is probably the least problematic bite you can receive from a medium-sized snake . The bite will break the skin, there will be some bleeding, and yes it will hurt a bit.
“However, it recently was discovered that they produce a mild venom which serves to stun their prey to ease consumption. Because they have very small teeth, rather than the venom-delivering fangs of rattlesnakes and other vipers, their bite is generally harmless to humans and other large mammals, like dogs .
King snakes are similar to corn snakes in that they’re easy to handle and enjoy being held.
All of these snakes are venomous and can cause serious danger to people and pets, especially in wooded areas. Since eastern king snakes are actually natural predators to those smaller, more venomous snakes — who are actually a threat to humans — it is counterproductive to kill one.
If you have a snake that fell into your hands straight out of the wild, start with handling them just once every several days, then feel free to ramp it up a little bit. They ‘ll get used to you and be tame in no time. Once they ‘re tame, kingsnakes are docile for the rest of their lives.
Change the substrate completely every 1-2 months, or more often if needed. King snakes and milk snakes are generally very easy to handle . After you have brought a new snake home, allow it to eat successfully several times before regularly handling it. Don’t handle young snakes more than once a week or so.
King Snakes , like all snakes do not require a light or UV bulb . If you choose to add a basking bulb to add more light to your cage make sure that you maintain proper heat levels but not go over 88 deg. F as this could be detrimental to your snake’s health.