Found in Mexico and Arizona, Mexican black kingsnakes are a solid jet black subspecies of the common kingsnake that lives for 10 to 20 years. These carnivores kill their prey by constricting rather than using their jaws or teeth. The Mexican black kingsnake is curious and energetic, which means it's important to have an enclosure that is escape-proof!
Aside from the minor challenge of keeping these snakes contained, the Mexican black kingsnake is actually a great pet. As hatchlings, Mexican black kingsnakes tend to be nippy, but with proper and consistent handling they will learn to trust that you are friend, not foe.
History of the Mexican Black Kingsnake
According to Erica Mede, CVT at Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, these snakes were one of the first kingsnake breeds to be bred specifically for the purposes of being a pet. They can be found in the semi desert and grassy locations of Mexico and Arizona, and they can both burrow and swim as necessitated by their environment.
Many people believe that these snakes are immune to rattlesnake venom, but that isn't quite true. Instead, these snakes are resistant to the venom. They will sometimes consume venomous snakes when the opportunity arises, but they'll alter their diets depending on the type of food that's available to them at the time.
Care and Habitat
BHB Reptiles recommends keeping your kingsnake in an environment that is between 80 and 82 degrees; the snake will also need access to a hot spot that is between 85 and 90 degrees. A thermometer can help you to ensure the temperature in the tank is just right. An under-tank heater can maintain the interior tank temperature so you don't have to keep your home's thermostat cranked up to keep your snake comfortable.
These snakes need a tank with a thermal gradient within their tank and hides on each side of the gradient. When they are about to shed, their usually glossy black eyes turn a cloudy bluish color and it's best to leave them alone when they're about to shed as they can get a bit feisty.
Because Mexican black kingsnakes can be cannibalistic, keeping multiple snakes in the same tank isn't recommended.
Mede explains that when these snakes live in the wild, they'll eat a varied diet consisting of rodents, eggs, lizards, and other snakes. Your captive snake can live on a diet that mostly consists of adult mice. If you'd like to add variety to your snake's diet, you can feed feeder anoles, chicks, and eggs. A juvenile snake should be fed every 7 to 10 days, while an adult can go longer between feedings and only need to be fed every 10 to 14 days.
You'll also need to always keep clean water in your snake's water bowl.
Finding a Mexican Black Kingsnake
This breed of snake is a popular pet, and you can buy Mexican black kingsnakes from many United States breeders online, as well as in reptile and pet stores. If you're thinking of adding a snake to your home, you'll have plenty of choices, including the milk snake, rat snake, California kingsnake, corn snake, constrictor, ball python, and more. If you're looking for a social snake that makes a great pet, though, the Mexican black kingsnake can be a great choice.
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