Species group: Kingsnakes and Milksnakes
Other common names: Sonoran King; Arizona Mountain Kingsnake; Applegate Arizona Mountain Kingsnake; Tarahumara Mountain Kingsnake
Scientific name: Lampropeltis pyromelana
The Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake is native to Arizona, and is also found in Nevada, Utah, and northern Mexico. Their native habitats are dense mountain forest areas from 3000 to 9000 feet above sea level.
There are three sub-species of Lampropeltis pyromelana: the Arizona Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana); Applegate Arizona Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana); and the Tarahumara Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana knoblocki).
Appearance / health:
Sonoran Mountain Kingsnakes are medium-sized snakes that mature to about 3 feet in length. The head is flat and wider than the neck, and the snout is white or cream in color. Scales are smooth and shiny, and the pupils are round. The body coloration involves alternate red bands and white bands with thin black borders. The most popular subspecies of the Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake are the Utah Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana infralabialis) and the Arizons Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana).
Behavior / temperament:
When threatened, the Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake will bite and release a foul smelling musk. They are popular in the pet trade because they are easy to care for (and breed) and quite attractive.
The Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake is best kept in a small- to medium-sized enclosure decorated with several hide boxes and branches or perches for climbing. The recommended substrates are newspaper, bark chips, and paper towels. A small bowl of water should also be provided. Day temp: 60-85F; humidity: at least 50%.
Fresh water should be provided daily, and the cage cleaned and disinfected regularly. The snakes hibernate at 45-55F, refusing food in preparation for hibernation as early as August or September.
Sonoran Mountain Kingsnakes prey on mice, rates, lizards, frogs, birds, bats, and other snakes.
Sometime in June or July, Sonoran Mountain Kingsnakes lay clutches of 2-12 eggs, which need to incubate for 60-85 days.
smart species, hardy snakes, absolutely stunning looks, true gem, temperament
black banding, aspen bedding, low humidity, pinkie mouse
It's a real shame that this species is so hard to get hold of because I highly recommend them as pets. I've had a male (pictured) for about 2 years. Unfortunately I haven't yet found him a mate - but as they live quite long lives (25 years+!) I have plenty of time left. These are quite hard to get hold of, but if you do see the opportunity to buy one, then go for it.
The main reason these snakes are my favourite of all the kings and milks is their absolutely stunning looks. Even photos can't do them justice, the reds are some of the brightest in captivity, contrasting beautifully with the white/cream and black banding. The second reason is their temperament. A lot of kings and milks can be very food orientated, especially king snakes, and unpredictable. The mountain kings are the opposite - placid, calm, quite dopey really. Even when eating, they take it slowly and always seem to exude patience - it's really the perfect temperament for a snake.
On top of that they are fairly small, my male is around 2 and a half feet in length, and lives very happily in a 2ft square enclosure. Although I've provided lots of hides and burrowing substrate, he's almost always out in the open, and will come to the front of the tank whenever something is happening, just to chill and watch the world go by.
Fingers crossed I find a female for him one day and can bring more of these amazing snakes into the world..
From Athravan Jun 15 2015 7:19AM