Species group: Kingsnakes and Milksnakes
Other common names: Brown Kingsnake
Scientific name: Lampropeltis calligaster rhombomaculata
The Mole Kingsnake, a subspecies of the better-known Prairie Kingsnake, is not very common in captivity. This situation is changing as more snake enthusiasts become aware of its attractive appearance, manageable size, and extreme hardiness. The Mole Kingsnake is native to the southeastern United States, where it ranges from Virginia to Louisiana and Florida. Within this range, it inhabits open woodlands, overgrown fields, and farms, but is not often seen due to its subterranean lifestyle. The “mole” part of the common name refers to its habit of sheltering in self-dug burrows or those of small mammals (including, as one might guess, moles!). A relative, the South Florida Mole Kingsnake, is limited to that state.
Appearance / health:
Mole Kingsnakes average 2 ½-3 feet in length, with the record being 47 inches. They are quite attractive, with a gray, tan or reddish body marked by numerous irregularly-shaped, dark blotches.
Behavior / temperament:
Mole Kingsnakes calm down quickly and adapt well to handling. However, like most of their relatives, they have the un-nerving habit of suddenly “nosing “the hand or arm 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.
Mole Kingsnakes are undemanding in their housing requirements; adults do fine in 20-30 gallon terrariums. Newspapers may be used as a substrate, but they prefer to burrow into cypress mulch, eucalyptus bark and similar materials. A length of partially-buried PVC pipe makes an ideal shelter, but traditional hide boxes will also be accepted. The substrate must be kept dry and the enclosure’s screen lid should be secured by cage clips. Ambient temperature: 75-78 F; Basking temperature: 85 F
Fecal material should be removed regularly and the terrarium thoroughly cleaned each 2-4 weeks. Wild-caught pets should be examined by a veterinarian. With proper care, Mole Kingsnakes can easily live into their 20’s.
Although many predators disdain moles, the Mole Kingsnake happily consumes its mammalian namesake. It also takes mice, chipmunks, small gophers, shrews (also avoided by most snakes), lizards and other snakes. Pets do well on a diet comprised solely of mice.
A 2-3 month winter cooling period of 55-60 F, with a basking spot of 72 F, will stimulate breeding. Pairs must be monitored carefully, as bites may occur during courtship, and all kingsnakes show a decided preference for their brethren as meals! A typical clutch contains 6-12 eggs, which should be incubated in vermiculite at 82 F for 50-65 days. Hatchlings generally accept pinkies as their first meal.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
I favor less-popular snakes, and the mole kingsnake fits the bill. Although they remain underground most of the time (no surprise, I guess!), they are quite attractive in color and very even tempered. Also, they average 2.5 to 3 feet in length, so are suitable for most home situations. I've found that they tend not to like handling, but rarely bite; most that I've kept have adjusted to handling in time. their care is just as for other kingsnakes, but they prefer to burrow below the substrate when resting; however, I've kept several on newspapers with a cave to hid in...all did well, with one reaching 26 years of age..
From findiviglio Mar 25 2014 9:47PM
Albino Mole King Snake
My son was given a unique gift for his 14th birthday. A friend gave him an albino Mole King Snake. This was our first and only experience with owning a snake. The habitat was easy to set up but it was expensive. We used an old aquarium that we had stored away, and with a quick trip to the pet store, we had all we needed to care for our new pet.
There are a couple drawbacks to owning a pet snake. Snakes are carnivores and our snake ate live pinky mice a couple times a week. While my son enjoyed watching the snake eat, I did not.
My son named to snake Al and he would take him out of his habitat each evening to play with him. One night when he put Al back into the aquarium he did not get the lid secured. The next morning Al was gone and we never seen him again. This is another drawback to owning a snake. They will not come to you like a cat or dog..
From kasandra Jul 8 2015 2:57AM