Everything You Need to Know About California Kingsnakes

Posted by Samantha Bubar

Found primarily on the West Coast of the United States, these easily-adaptable snakes are easy to care for and great for those new to the world of snakes.

California kingsnakes are native to North America and found mainly in California. The most popularly bred snake for pet purposes, Cali kingsnakes live for 20-plus years. They tend to be one of the more docile kingsnakes.

As hatchlings, Cali kingsnakes tend to be a little flighty and can bite or musk when cornered or threatened. With regular handling they become more tolerable of people. Once familiar with your presence they enjoy time out of their tank to explore.

Basic husbandry requirements appeal to those who are new to keeping snakes. These snakes do best in glass tanks, with a heat gradient starting at 80-85 degrees F, which ensures that they can thermo-regulate. A tank heater underneath their enclosure or heat tape on one side of the tank is usually the best way to achieve this. Their enclosure needs to be dry, and their shallow water dish needs to be removed if the tank looks or feels moist. They don't have any specific light requirements, other than natural light.

Cali kingsnakes can be fed appropriately-sized frozen mice, rats, and chicks. It is recommended that they feed once a week, or twice a week if they need to put weight on. In the wild they will eat frogs, lizards, rodents- anything they can constrict and consume!

These diurnal snakes like to burrow and climb low branches. While they enjoy being secretive, they also enjoy exploring and are prone to escaping, so it is necessary that their enclosure be escape-proof!

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Adults grow to 3-4 feet and hatchlings range from 8 to 12 inches.

Color Variations

California kingsnakes are typically shades of black or brown with contrasting white or yellow rings or stripes.



CA king snakes are docile and friendly, which makes them great for newbies.


Kingsnakes lay 10 to 15 eggs per clutch. Incubation is anywhere from 55 to 60 days around 81 degrees F.


When shedding, the eyes turn a milky blue color. It's important not to touch or disturb your snake when you notice this!

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Everything You Need to Know About California Kingsnakes