The Common Kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula, is one of the first snakes to have been bred in captivity on a large scale, and remains extremely popular. Eight distinctly-marked subspecies range throughout the USA and into Central America. All breed well in captivity – the California Kingsnake (L.g. californiae), a pet trade staple, is available in a wide range of “designer patterns”. The other subspecies may be seen in their “pure” forms or as crosses with related snakes, and include the Black Kingsnake, Florida Kingsnake, Eastern or Chain Kingsnake, Mexican Black Kingsnake (the only race which is jet back above and below), Desert Kingsnake, Speckled Kingsnake and Yuma Kingsnake (sometimes grouped with the California Kingsnake, as the “desert phase”).
Despite the wide range of habitats occupied by the various Common Kingsnake subspecies, all may be kept and bred in much the same manner (please write in for specific information on the subspecies in which you are interested).
Common Kingsnakes do well at temperatures of 76-86 F, and, being fairly secretive, require a secure hideaway. They may be raised on a diet of mice, but all are partial to other snakes as food – pairs must be watched carefully, especially at feeding time
Kingsnakes should be subjected to a 2-3 month cooling off period at 59-68 F during the winter. Copulation is most likely to occur from March-June, with eggs being laid 30-50 days thereafter. A second clutch may be produced in late summer or early fall. Clutch size varies from 3-21, with 9 eggs being the average.
Eggs and Hatchlings
Eggs incubated in moist vermiculite (use a vermiculite: water ratio of 1:1 by weight – please see article below for details) at 82 F will hatch in 45-75 days. The hatch rate is usually a pleasing 90% or higher. The young, 9-13 inches long upon hatching, are large enough to take pink mice as their first meal. Sexual maturity is reached at approximately 2 ½ years of age.
For further information on hatching snake eggs, please see my article Incubating Reptile Eggs.
Very interesting footage of wild California Kingsnakes is posted here.
Lampropeltis getula getula image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Dawson