California Kingsnake

ZOO LOCATION: Scutes Family Gallery

Lifespan: 20 - 25 years

Wild Diet: Rodents, lizards, other snakes, birds, frogs

Zoo Diet: Mice

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


IUCN Status: Not Listed

Habitat/Range: Varied habitats throughout the Western United States from Baja to Oregon, Southern Utah and Western Arizona

Characteristics: Smooth, shiny, unkeeled scales. The head is barely wider than the neck. Most commonly seen with alternating bands of black or brown and white or light yellow, including the underside, where the light bands become wider.

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: Oviparous. It mates from March to June and lays around 2 dozen eggs from May to August. Young hatch about 6-10 weeks later and are approximately 12 inches long. Kingsnakes do not take care of their young after they hatch. Females usually lay eggs once a year; occasionally twice.

Conservation: California kingsnakes, like other kingsnakes are highly adaptable and currently show stable populations in the wild. Help protect these wild animals by being a responsible pet owner. When considering an exotic pet, such as a snake, make sure that you purchase it from a trusted breeding source and not from the wild. Also keep dogs away from snakes when on hikes or out in the country. It will protect your dog and the snake!