Fun California Kingsnake Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun California Kingsnake Facts For Kids

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Snakes have been fascinating to humans since ancient times. The practice of domesticating snakes and keeping them as pets was quite popular amongst the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. In recent times as well, certain non-venomous snakes are in high demand as popular pets. One such species of snake is California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae), also known as Lampropeltis californiae. This Lampropeltis genus of snake is found in a variety of habitats in the regions of northern Mexico and the western USA. Owing to their docile nature and ease of care, the California Kingsnakes have emerged as one of the most popular snakes for the pet trade. These snakes are usually found in a wide range of colors; however, the most commonly found California Kingsnakes have a black or brown body with white or whitish-yellow bands or rings. These snakes are found in the states of California, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and parts of Mexico. There are various morphs of these Kingsnakes which are in high demand to be kept as pets. One such morph is the Banana Albino California King Snake which is very rare.

These snakes are most active during the daytime in cold weather conditions, while they are mostly nocturnal in hot climatic regions. During the winter months, they dig holes underground and enter a semi-hibernation state called brumation. They usually communicate by hissing and making a noise with their tails which is very similar to that of the rattlesnake. They are resistant to the rattlesnake's venom, though not fully immune to it. These snakes are mostly harmless to humans, though it is common for them to bite if they feel threatened.

Want to know more such fascinating facts about California Kingsnake? Continue reading! You may also be interested to know facts about the copperhead snake and cottonmouth snake.

Fun California Kingsnake Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Rodents, lizards, birds, frogs, eggs, other venomous and non-venomous snakes

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

0.9-3.3lb (0.4-1.5 kg)

How long are they?

30-48 in (76-122 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Black or dark brown body with whitish-yellow bands

Skin Type

Glossy scales

What were their main threats?

Humans, Predatory Birds

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Marshes, Grasslands, Desert Areas, Woodland Chaparral, And Suburban Areas


West Coast Of North America To The Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains









California Kingsnake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a California kingsnake?

The California Kingsnake is a non-venomous, docile snake that is primarily harmless to humans. They kill their prey by constriction. These types of Kingsnakes eat other snakes, including their own kind. They are mostly harmless to humans, though they may sometimes bite if they are irritated. In addition, they coil their body and hide their head inside it if they feel disturbed. The average California Kingsnake size ranges from 30-48 in.

What class of animal does a California kingsnake belong to?

California Kingsnakes belong to the class of Reptilia and the family, Colubridae. The scientific name of California Kingsnakes is Lampropeltis getula californiae, and they are part of the Lampropeltis species-genus.

How many California kingsnakes are there in the world?

The exact number of California kingsnakes is not known. However, there are several sub-specious of these kingsnakes, some of which are thriving in their natural habitat, while some, like the California Mountain Kingsnake, are declining in number at an alarming rate.

Where does a California kingsnake live?

The California Kingsnake habitat spreads across grasslands, woodland chaparral, desert areas, marshes, and suburban areas. They are very adaptive and have been introduced to various suburban areas as pets. They are a very popular pet and bred in captivity to be sold as pets by traders. California Kingsnakes are found in California, Nevada, Oregon, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico.

What is a California kingsnake's habitat?

California Kingsnakes are found along the West Coast of North America to the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. They are found in a variety of habitats that include marshes, forests, and even in ranches. They spend a large part of their days on a pile of debris or below fallen leaves. These snakes are often known to hide in man-made structures during both the day and night. California Kingsnakes can also be found in trash cans and sunbathing in clearings. They are known to lay their eggs on a rotten piece of wood or a pile of debris. The temperature range where these snakes can survive is between 75-90 degrees F. However, they might face a lot of problems if the humidity percentage is not plus or minus 10-50%.

Who do California kingsnakes live with?

Apart from the mating season, the California kingsnake usually lives alone, by itself. The California kingsnakes lay the eggs and leave them alone to hatch by themselves two to three months later. The baby snakes are on their own from the very first day of hatching. They are unique in this regard. In captivity, too, they are mostly kept alone in their separate enclosures.

How long does a California kingsnake live?

The California Kingsnake lifespan ranges from 10-15 years. However, there have been instances where the kingsnake has managed to live for more than 20 years as well. They are known to reach sexual maturity around the age of three or four. That is also the time from when they start laying eggs at least once a year.

How do they reproduce?

The mating season for these snakes usually begins in the spring months, after they have undergone shedding. The male snakes usually compete with the other male snakes for the available female snakes. This often results in the competing snakes fighting each other and biting each other's backs. The mating ritual then finally begins with the male California Kingsnake vibrating uncontrollably. The female snakes usually lay eggs about 42-63 days after mating, which is usually in the months of May to August. There are about 3-24 eggs in each clutch, and the hatchlings emerge after 40-65 days. The hatchlings are on their own from the moment of their birth. In the wild, the snakes are known to lay eggs once a year. However, in captivity, they can also be bred to give eggs twice a year.

What is their conservation status?

There are various subspecies and morphs of the California Kingsnake. Some species of these snakes are declining in number; however, most subspecies of the California Kingsnake have been listed as Least Concern by the International Union For Conservation Of Resources (IUCN) in their conservation Red List.

California Kingsnake Fun Facts

What do California kingsnakes look like?

The California Kingsnake usually has a brown or black body with white or whitish-yellow bands or rings on its body. However, there are several morphs of the California Kingsnakes. The banded kingsnakes are the most common, while the lavender albino kingsnakes and the banana albino ones are the rarest.

The California Kingsnakes have several morphs

How cute are they?

They are very cute with their shiny scales and color patterns on their backs. The different morphs come in different colors and make exquisite pets. The albino morphs of the kingsnakes are very cute indeed and come in various pastel shades like banana yellow and lavender.

How do they communicate?

The California kingsnakes hiss and rattle their tales which produces a sound that is very similar to the rattlesnake. They coil their bodies and hide their head in them when disturbed or irritated. They are known to twitch their tails when they are nervous. It is also common for the species to excrete musk and feces when they are being manhandled.

How big is a California kingsnake?

The California Kingsnake is about 30-48 in (76-122 cm) in length and weighs around 0.9-3.3 lb. They are approximately around the same size as pythons and rat snakes.

How fast can a California kingsnake move?

We do not have any exact information about how fast the California Kingsnake moves, but it is known that they use quick and jerky movements to startle their prey. These snakes are known to skillfully camouflage themselves to hide from their predators and are known to be opportunistic hunters themselves. They eat other small mammals and reptiles in addition to eating other snakes as well.

How much does a California kingsnake weigh?

The average California Kingsnake weighs from 0.9-3.3 lb. This is roughly about the same weight as baby turtles.

What are their male and female names of the species?

These species do not have any distinct names for their males and females. They are simply referred to as female or male California kingsnake snakes.

What would you call a baby California kingsnake?

The newborn kingsnakes are called hatchlings, while the baby snakes are called snakelets. These terms are used for snakes across all species and are not particular only to these types of snakes.

What do they eat?

The diet of these snakes mostly comprises small mammals like rodents, lizards, birds, and other snakes, including the rattlesnake. They are known to even eat the skin that they shed themselves.

Are they aggressive?

California kingsnakes are not usually aggressive and are have a docile demeanor. However, they do coil themselves up and hiss if they are disturbed. They are also known to twitch their tails when they are nervous and excrete musk and feces from their cloaca.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, California Kingsnakes make amazing pets as they are easy to care for and have a docile demeanor. They generally come in various colors, though the most common ones are the banded snakes that have a black or brown body. Their glossy scales and unique look makes them an exquisite pet.

Did you know...

The California Kingsnake morphs include the Albino California Kingsnake morph, Chocolate morph, Twin dotted morph, Lavender Albino California Kingsnake morph, California Banded Kingsnake morph, Charcoal black morph, and many more. In fact, there are about 20 different naturally occurring morphs of the California Kingsnake.

The population of some of the subspecies of these kingsnakes is decreasing at quite an alarming rate.

The Southern California Kingsnake shows cannibalistic traits. They often eat other poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, including the rattlesnake. This is also how these snakes have got the name 'Kingsnake' as they are known to eat snakes of the same species as well.

California Kingsnake care is usually hassle-free. The diet of most of these kingsnakes held in captivity consists of pink mice, which are specially bred to feed them. In the wilderness, the kingsnake usually eats rodents, birds, frogs, small mammals, and other such animals. However, like most reptiles, this snake needs space to survive in captivity. The perfect tank size for this species of snake would be a 40-gallon wooden tank.

The California Kingsnake is diurnal in nature. In hot summer months, it is usually nocturnal and comes out only in the nighttime to hunt its prey. Moreover, these snakes are active during the daytime in colder regions while they become nocturnal in hotter climates.

These Kingsnakes are a subspecies of the Common Kingsnake and show several common characteristics with the Common Kingsnake, which are abundant in North America.

These Kingsnakes are insanely popular as pets and usually cost around $50-$100. However, the rarer morphs such as the Banana Albino morph can even cost up to $200.

In the wilderness, these Kingsnakes are known to be skillful hunters, carefully waiting for their prey while camouflaging themselves with their surroundings.

These Kingsnakes are usually harmless to humans and not poisonous at all. There has hardly been any record of the California Kingsnakes hurting humans. However, they can bite if they are irritated or feel threatened.

They have very high muscle power. If compared to their body size, they have the strongest squeeze. This helps them kill their prey by suffocating them with constriction.

These snakes have been introduced artificially into the island of Gran Canaria in Spain, where they were initially bred in captivity.

This snake usually sheds its skin five to six times a year, during which it is almost blind. The younger snakes are known to shed their skins more frequently than the adult snakes. The snakelets usually shed up to once a month.

In the wilderness, these snakes are hunted by hawks, coyotes, and opossums.

These snakes have hinged jaws which allows them to swallow preys that are larger than the size of their heads.

The California Kingsnake is an oviparous snake species; that is, they lay eggs like reptiles as compared to giving live births like some other species of snakes.

The California Kingsnakes play a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance of their habitat, as they keep a check on the population of their prey.

The Desert Kingsnakes are a close relative of the California Kingsnakes.

What does a California kingsnake do to protect itself?

Upon being disturbed or threatened, the California king snake usually gives off a strong musk-like odor. They often smear fecal matter on an aggressor when they are being manhandled. The California Kingsnake also hisses, vibrates its tail quickly, and rolls into a ball, and hides its head in the coil made by its body. They are also known to bite when they are being manhandled. During the breeding season, the male snakes fight each other and bite each other's backs to win over the females.

What is special about California kingsnakes and rattlesnakes?

The California Kingsnake makes a noise with its tail which is very similar to that of the rattlesnake. In addition, this kingsnake also feeds on the rattlesnake and is naturally resistant to its poison. However, the California Kingsnake is not immune to the poison of the rattlesnake. In certain instances, the California Kingsnake is known to eat its own shed skin as well.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including black rat snake, or gopher snake.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our California Kingsnake coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

Moumita is a multilingual content writer and editor. She has a PostGraduate Diploma in sports management, which enhanced her sports journalism skills, as well as a degree in journalism and mass communication. She's good at writing about sports and sporting heroes. Moumita has worked with many soccer teams and produced match reports, and sports is her primary passion.

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