Natural History

The California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) is a non-venomous snake found in the western United States and northern Mexico. The California Kingsnake can vary widely in appearance due to numerous naturally occurring color and pattern morphs. The California Kingsnake is found in most of California and Arizona, not excluding the highest mountain ranges, as well as southern portions of Nevada, Utah, Oregon, northwestern New Mexico, and extreme southwestern Colorado. In Arizona, they Intergrade with the Desert Kingsnake as well as with the Mexican Black Kingsnake.

There are dozens of combinations of patterns and colorations that naturally occur in the wild. These generally fall under the basic categories of banded, striped, blotched, unicolored, and speckled with additional variations in color and pattern depending on the particular geographic population. The Californian Kingsnake is generally diurnal, however they become more nocturnal during the summer months. In the winter, they may go deep underground and enter hibernation. California Kingsnakes are constrictors, feeding on almost any vertebrate they can overpower. Common food items include rodents, and other reptiles. The "king" in their name refers to their ability to hunt and consume other snakes, including Rattlesnakes. The California Kingsnake is an egg layer as opposed to giving live birth, such as Rosy Boas. Mating is throughout the spring. Eggs are laid between May and August which is generally 40–60 days after copulation. The typical clutch size is five to twelve eggs with an average of nine. The hatchlings usually emerge another 40–65 days later, and are approximately ten to twelve inches in length.