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Desert King Snake (L. getula spendida) Care Sheet

Desert king snakes are found throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of Mexico.  Desert kings come from a semi arid environment and their cage should be set up similar to their natural habitat.  These king snakes reach adulthood within 3 years and grow to 3-5 feet.  Adult female desert kings will lay 1-2 clutches each year with 5-10 eggs per clutch.  The eggs are incubated at 82-84 degrees and will hatch in 50-90 days.  Desert 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. 

Temperature

    
Desert 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 temperatures are maintained. 

Housing

     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.

Bedding

     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.  

Food

    
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.