How to care for a California King snake and other King snakes

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Get an aquarium to fit your snake. Usually a 10 gallon is plenty when they are babies, but they will quickly outgrow these, so be aware of this!
Also latches for the sides of the mesh lid to the aquarium because he WILL push up the lid and get out if you don’t. The latches didn’t even work for us. We got small weights and put them on each corner, and have NEVER had a problem with that, where as the latches got our snake out and he ended up three stories down in the basement of our apartment complex. Be wary of their escape artist nature!

Make sure you have access to a local pet shop for pinky mice. Many people are wary of feeding live mice because of the “violent nature” of it all, while many look forward to this aspect. When your king snake is a baby, and even up to years later, it could KILL him or her to try to eat live prey. They are simply not big enough. It can also horribly disfigure them to try to fight with their food. So many choose to stick with pinky mice which are teeny mice babies (without even hair) that are frozen like tiny chickens that you unthaw.

Do NOT buy more than one king snake and put them in a tank together. Unlike corn snakes they WILL EAT EACH OTHER!!!!!
Unless you are a trained professional or a breeder who knows how and when to introduce king snakes of the opposite sex, do not do this. One or both of your snakes will die!

Feed your snake once a week and prepare their food properly. I have heard of people throwing the frozen mouse in the tank to find the snake disinterested. DO NOT DO THIS! IT COULD KILL YOUR SNAKE AND DAMAGE HIS DIGESTIVE SYSTEM!!!!
The proper way to do it is to get a cup full of hot water from the faucet and let the mouse sit in it for 45 minutes. After this, give it to your snake so that its fully thawed and not frozen inside. You can start with one pinky and move up. If your snake acts hungry after one, give him two. They are very easy to feed because of the once a week feeding time, but make sure he gets full.

Snakes like their privacy. King snakes are nocturnal creatures and prefer a hollow something to hide in like they would in nature. Get them some sort of fake log for a fish tank , or similar item.

Get your snake an optional basking lamp. Be wary of the heated rocks that you buy in the pet store. They have been know to be dangerous and get too hot, burning snakes and lizards alike. Stick to a basking lap and a good old fashioned rock. Our snake is not a fan of his, as he prefers lurking in the dark, in his log more than anything. But many snakes DO enjoy these and it is immensely satisfying to see them basking. Unlike other reptiles such as turtles and many lizards, king snakes do not require a UVA UVB bulb.

Congratulations on your new pet, and good luck!


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