California King Snake (L. getula californiae) Care Sheet

California king snakes are found throughout California and parts of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Baja California.  There are two forms of California king snakes, the desert phase and the coastal phase.  The desert and coastal phase kings are actually the same species, but they vary in color and locality.  The desert phase can be found in southern California and eastward.  The desert phase is colored with black and white bands or black with a white stripe. The coastal phase can also be found in southern California and north into southern Oregon.  Coastal California king snakes are colored brown with yellow bands or a yellow stripe.  These king snakes reach adulthood within 3 years and grow to 4-6 feet.  California king snakes are secretive snakes and will do best if provided with some type of hiding place.  With proper care you can expect your king snake to live 10-20 years or more.  Prehistoric


California king snakes need to be maintained between 84-90 degrees during the day.  Nighttime temperatures should range between 68-75 degrees.  If you keep your snake too cool it can regurgitate, so make sure the daytime temperatures are maintained. 


King snakes can be housed comfortably in a 29-40 gallon terrarium as adults.  Ideally the larger the snake the more room you want to provide.  Never place a cage near a window where sunlight can directly shine on your cage.  Cages placed in direct sunlight can easily overheat and ultimately lead to the death of your snake.  Never house your king snake with other snakes, it may eat them.


Almost any type of bedding can be used for king snakes.  We recommend using carpet, bark, pine shavings, or aspen shavings.  A deep layer is recommended to allow your snake to hide if it chooses to do so.  


King snakes feed on pinkie and fuzzy mice as babies and juveniles.  As your snake grows it will soon move up to adult mice.  We recommend that you feed baby and juvenile king snakes one time per week.  Adult king snakes can be fed once every 7-10 days to maintain proper body weight.   Like most snakes, king snakes typically will not eat when they are preparing to shed.  After your snake has shed you can return to your normal feeding regiment.  If your snake doesn’t eat make sure you remove the rodent from the cage.  Rodents, when they are hungry, can bite snakes and can injure or kill them.