Species group: Kingsnakes and Milksnakes
Other common names: Chain Kingsnake; Common Kingsnake; Eastern Chain King; Chain King
Scientific name: Lampropeltis getulu
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.
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.
Rodents are the Eastern Kingsnake’s common prey, but it also feeds on lizards, birds, amphibians, turtle eggs, and other snakes.
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.
beautiful snake, ravenous feeders
smell, occasional nip, stench, bit fiesty, wild snake, horrible temperament
Still "the King" of all Snake Pets!
The Eastern king snake has long been a pet trade staple – and with good reason. They are attractive, hardy, willing to breed and available in an astounding array pf morphs and hybrid forms. It is the largest of the king snakes, with some approaching 7 feet in length, but most top out at a manageable 4-5 feet.
The scores I’ve cared for at home and in zoos have calmed down quickly and adapted well to handling. However, like most of their relatives, they have the un-nerving habit of suddenly “nosing” the hand and delivering an “experimental” bite. This is rarely an aggressive action – perhaps they are just wired to seek additions to their already wide diets! These bites, easily avoided by alert handlers, detract little from this snake’s fine pet qualities.
With proper care, Eastern kingsnakes can live in excess of 20 years. A simple 30-55 gallon terrarium stocked with a hide box and heated to a temperature range of 78-85 F, with a basking spot of 88 F, meets their needs..
From findiviglio Jan 5 2016 1:32PM
A smell to remember
My kingsnake was originally a wild snake that was caught by a friend and given to me. Even though he was wild, he never seemed to mind people. You could hold him all day or not at all and it never seemed to matter to him that much. The GOOD: As far has habitat and diet, this snake is too easy to provide for. This breed eats pretty much anything as far as small animals. Lizards, mice, and even other snakes are just a few so we were able to provide many of his meals without spending a dollar, due to our woodsy environment.
The BAD: The one negative that was the reason I gave him away revolved around his eating habits. On a couple occasions he was fed a snake and a day or two later, would vomit the snake up again. This didn't happen every time he ate another snake but the few times that it did happen were enough for me. The stench was horrible and it took an exorbitant amount of effort to refrain from vomiting as I cleaned the habitat..
From RobbyD83 Feb 8 2015 2:51PM