Desert Kingsnake


Lifespan: 10 years

Wild Diet: Carnivorous; other snakes, lizards, birds and small animals

Zoo Diet: Mice

Predators: Their main predators are birds of prey and a variety of mammals


IUCN Status: Not Listed

Habitat/Range: Desert regions of Central and south Texas westward, through New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. South to Sonoran Mexico.

Characteristics: The head is black. The labials are pale colored with wide vertical lines. The overall dorsal coloration is dark brown or black. The lateral scales are heavily speckled with yellow. There are 20 to 42 moderately to poorly defined dark rectangular saddles. These saddles are separated by yellow speckled crosslines, 2 to 3 scales in width. The belly is essentially black.

Behavior: The California Kingsnake is usually a solitary creature. They hunt on their own. The only time they are not solitary is during cold weather when many may hibernate together. This snake can be quite aggressive if provoked. They can hear low frequency sounds and fell vibrations, which enables them to sense an approaching animal or human well before the animal reaches the area where the snake is resting or nesting.

Reproduction: Breeding occurs during April and May. During June and July clutches of 5 to 12 adhesive shelled eggs (sticking to the surface on which they are laid) are laid underground in loose moist soil. Hatching occurs from late August through early October. Hatchlings are 7 - 10 in. and adults: 36 - 45 in. (record is 60 in.)

Conservation: Desert King snakes, like other king snakes, are highly adaptable and do well in a variety of conditions when necessary. The wild populations are currently stable throughout their range.