Animal-World > Reptiles - Amphibians > Snakes > Arizona Desert Kingsnake

Arizona Desert Kingsnake

Family: ColubridaePicture of an Arizona Desert KingsnakeLampropeltis getula splendidaPhoto Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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Hi, I got a splendida phase desert king snake yesterday at a reptile expo/show and was told that he was eating live rat pinkies and mice hoppers and I was wondering... (more)  john

   Now here's a "snake with an attitude". This guy isn't taking any guff from anybody!

   The Arizona Desert Kingsnake however, does makes an excellent pet. With regular handling they are very gentle and docile. Being easy to feed and very hardy, the kingsnake is a favorite for both the beginner and the experienced herptologist.


For more Information on keeping Snakes see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Herp


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Genus: Lampropeltis
  • Species: getula splendida

Distribution:    The Arizona Desert Kingsnakes are found in North America. Specifically they are found in the southern part of the United States in Arizona and sometimes just across the border in California.

Description:    The Arizona Desert Kingsnakeis a beautifully colored snake with a speckled black and yellow patterning. With its smooth scales and fairly slender body it is not only lovely to look at, but a pleasure to hold. The Arizona desert kingsnake can reach up to six feet long in the wild.  In captivity they generally only reach three to four feet.

Feeding:   They are a constrictor and their diet consists of rodents, birds, other snakes and lizards(and their eggs). Feed once or twice a week, depending on the size of the food and the size of the snake. As you get to know your snake, you'll learn what its feeding needs are. Fresh water in a shallow dish should always be available.

Environment:    One of the most important things to keep in mind with a kingsnake is that it is a carnivore and will eat other snakes. They must be housed separately except when they are being bred!
   The Arizona desert kingsnake needs to be housed in an arid or desert type terrarium, just as its name implies. See the desert terrarium set-up described under Basic Reptile and Amphibian Care for more information. The terrarium needs to be a 20 gallon size or larger and the snake will need a hiding place and a small water dish.

Temperature and Lighting requirements:    They do well at 72° to 88° F in the daytime, and 67° to 72° F at night. Full spectrum lighting is important for your snakes well being and its long-term maintenance. You can use a substrate heating device for basic heating. For additional heat, you can add a low wattage full spectrum incandescent daytime bulb and a blacknight bulb or red incandescent bulb for nighttime heating. Be sure you use a thermometer so you don't let the terrarium become overheated!
   For more detailed information see the Basic Reptile and Amphibian Care: Housing.

Breeding/Reproduction:    These snakes, if not babies, need to be probe sexed for positive sex identification. They are egg layers, and will lay up to 24 eggs that hatch in about 10 weeks. The hatchlings are only about four inches long!

Availability:   The Arizona Desert Kingsnake and many other varieties of kingsnakes are generally available as pets due successful captive breeding.

Author: Clarice Brough, CRS
Lastest Animal Stories on Arizona Desert Kingsnake

john - 2012-10-14
Hi, I got a splendida phase desert king snake yesterday at a reptile expo/show and was told that he was eating live rat pinkies and mice hoppers and I was wondering if there was an easy way to get him to frozen/thawed because he is so beautiful and I don't want him to get hurt. P.S. he is about 2 feet long.

  • Clarice Brough - 2012-10-14
    Converting him to frozen/thawed is a great ides, and there are tons of methods used to accomplish this. Some will work for some snakes and others work for other snakes. Some of the easiest suggestions include: warming the food before its offered and then placing it in the feeding cage with tongs, put some drops of oil from a can of tuna on it before offering it, or dipping it in some chicken broth. The important thing is to be patient, it may take a while for your snake to get hungry enough to try this 'new' food.
Reply
john - 2012-10-19
Yes! I finally got my desert kingsnake to ecxept frozen fuzzies!The problem is that I was wondering is that don't snakes need exercise? And isnt eating the only time the really burn a decent amount of calories? what I am trying to say is I don't want a fat snake and snakes dont use execise wheels so how am I going to make sure he gets exercise?

  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-10-19
    Snakes use an incredible about of muscles to move which burns a lot of energy and because they do not eat as often as other animals it is unlikely that it will become over weight.
Reply
chase jonsgaard - 2011-03-07
And how much, what are the price ranges of the snake?

  • john - 2012-10-31
    $20 to $40 for a good one, usually on the high end.
Reply
chase jonsgaard - 2011-03-07
What type of background should be used for a california kingsnake and how big does the cage need to be?

Reply
john - 2012-10-29
Wow do I have bad timing,thanks to hurricaine sandy I am having trouble keeping my snakes tank warm, I added another heater but the temp. keeps going down, What can I do? Right know he is in my shirt.

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