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Eastern Kingsnake

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Is the Eastern Kingsnake right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Chain Kingsnake; Common Kingsnake; Eastern Chain King; Chain King

Scientific name: Lampropeltis getulu

The basics:
The Eastern Kingsnake is seen all over the eastern United States, from New Jersey, through South Carolina and Georgia, down to northern Florida. They thrive in forests, farmlands, wetlands, swamps, hammocks, and some suburban areas. They are terrestrial and prefer to be close to streams, meadows, and swamps.

Appearance / health:
The Eastern Kingsnake is relatively large and grows to about 6 feet. It has smooth shiny scales that are very dark brown to black, with creamy white to yellow stripes that laterally cross the back and meet with longitudinal stripes along the sides, creating a chain-link effect, thus its common name “Chain King.” Kings that come from the Coastal Plain have broad stripes, while those native to the mountains have thin, almost negligible chain markings.

Behavior / temperament:
Although observed to be diurnal, Eastern Kingsnakes but might choose to remain in hiding until dusk when they actively roam and feed. They may be aggressive at first, but they are easily tamed and considered a good pet.

Housing:
Eastern Kingsnakes are best housed in medium to large woodland terrariums equipped with several ground-level hiding places like dry leaves and roots, layers of cork, or rock caves. A large water dish helps with the cage humidity and makes the snake feel more comfortable. Day temp: 73-77F; night temp: 59-68F; basking temp: 95F; humidity: 60-80%; lighting: 12 hours, partly UV.

Eastern Kingsnakes are best kept singly because of their predisposition to eat other snakes.

Diet:
Rodents are the Eastern Kingsnake’s common prey, but it also feeds on lizards, birds, amphibians, turtle eggs, and other snakes.

Breeding:
Eastern Kingsnakes are oviparous. They breed in the spring, with the male biting the neck of the female while mating. Females lay 6 to 24 eggs in early summer, and hatchlings appear after about 2-3 months.

wonderful

beautiful snake, ravenous feeders

challenging

smell, occasional nip, stench, bit fiesty, wild snake, horrible temperament

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