King Snake Forum

The forum is a place for members to share good practice and ask questions about King snakes and their general care. It is free to register and easy to use. There are plenty of regular members, so any queries about King Snake care, breeding, health and keeping should be answered within a short space of time.

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Frequently Asked Questions.

The Forum is a good place to gain advice and feedback which is personalised for your specific problem or enquiry. We always welcome any questions you may have regarding your King snake and our members will eagerly offer friendly and informed answers. Here are a few frequently asked questions that may help you in your search for King snake advice.

Can multiple King snakes be kept together in the same vivarium?

King Snakes are naturally cannibalistic, so should never be housed or left alone with other snakes, even other King Snakes. When breeding King Snakes ensure that the snakes are of a similar size and never leave them for long periods unattended, just in case problems arise.

Thermostat & Heat mat - both essential equipment in King Snake CareDo I need a thermostat?

Yes, uncontrolled heat sources can cause many problems. Minor problems include stress, respiratory infections and loss of appetite if the temperatures are not correct. King Snakes need heat to help them digest their food, so a low temperature can cause digestive problems. A really high temperature can cause burns to your snake and even death. It does not take many degrees to push the temperature up into dangerous levels, so always ensure any heat source is regulated by a thermostat. Thermometers and heat guards for bulbs are also vital equipment within the vivarium.

What size vivarium do I need to house my  King snake?

King Snakes do not require large enclosures and can become stressed if they are housed in a vivarium that is too large for them. Generally the size of the vivarium depends on the length of the snake. A good rule to remember is that the perfect size vivarium is when the length of the snake equals the length of the front and one side of the vivarium, ie. if you have a 3ft King snake then the right size vivarium for that snake would be about 2ft by 1ft. A baby King Snake can be housed in a small faunarium or RUB (plastic box with air holes added) until it becomes large enough to be comfortable in a vivarium.

My King Snake keeps trying to bite me! Help!

King Snakes are quite a feisty type of snake, which is part of their appeal to many King Snake keepers, but if your King Snake is really aggressive there are a few things you can do to tame it down.

Regular handling is the key, as once your snake gets used to been handled, then they will learn not to mind it too much. If you are scared of being bitten, wear gloves to protect yourself or place you snake in a pillowcase, so that you can handle your snake through the cotton without it being able to strike.

Once your snake recognises your scent and understands that you are not a threat, then it  will usually be more calm around you. You can speed up this recognition of scent by placing an item of your clothing in the vivarium for a while or by always using the same scented soap before every handling session.

Another good idea is to allow your King Snake to leave the vivarium on it’s own accord. A lot of King Snakes are 'viv defensive', so will become aggressive if you try and enter it’s home.  Outside the vivarium they can be more responsive to your contact.

A bite from a King Snake is rarely seriousIf I am bitten by my King Snake, will it hurt?

King Snake bites do not hurt, but the shock of one might shake you up a little. King Snake teeth do not do much damage to your skin, but as it may bleed it is advised that you treat the area with antiseptic to ensure the wound does not become infected.

Sometimes a King Snake may bite and refuse to let go. It is important that you do not pull you King Snake out of the bite as you may damage it’s teeth in doing so. If you are bitten by a persistent snake who does not want to release you, hold the head of the snake under running water. This usually encourages the snake to let go.

Mexican Black King Snake preparing for a shedMy King snake has developed dull skin and the eyes have turned blue. Should I worry?

No, your King snake is just starting the shedding process, so this is nothing to worry about. Shedding normally takes between 2 to 3 weeks depending on the snake. There is little you need to do to help, as King snakes will shed their skin without assistance, but ensure that a large water bowl is available so that your snake can soak itself if it wants to. A rock, stone or log in the vivarium also helps. After your snake has shed, remove the shed skin immediately, along with any faeces that usually accompanies it. Check that all the shed has come away from your snake, especially around the eyes as retained eye caps can be a problem.

My King snake is not eating, what shall I do?

All snakes are designed not to eat regularly, as they are opportunist hunters in the wild. King Snakes are no exception and you should not worry too much if your King Snake misses the odd feed. This is especially true in winter as many King Snakes may go off food during this season.

You should only begin to worry about your King Snake if it begins to lose a lot of weight after a prolonged fast. This is why regular weight checks are important as part of your King Snake care routine.

To encourage your King Snake to eat there are various techniques you can use. Braining involves making an incision into the head of the prey item to expose the brain matter and is a very good technique to entice your King Snake to eat. You can also try a variation in diet to see if a different type of prey is more appetising. Mice, Rats, Gerbils and Day Old Chicks are all safe to feed to your King Snake, so try something different and see if that works. Another technique is to place your King Snake in a confined, dark box with the prey item and leave them together for a while. Sometimes the closeness to the prey item and the lack of any other distractions will encourage your snake to eat.

Can I feed my King Snake live food?

Feeding your King Snake live food is very inadvisableFeeding live food is very unadvisable, not just because of the cruelty inflicted on the prey item, but also because an uneaten rodent can do a lot of damage to your snake. Rodents have sharp claws and strong jaws and teeth, so if they decided to attack your snake then serious injury can be caused. They are quite capable of gnawing your King Snake's flesh to the bone and many snakes have been put down after or died from these injuries. If you do decide to feed your King Snake with a live food item then do not for any reason leave them unattended together.

There are also many legal and moral arguments regarding the feeding of live prey items, so you should check out the animal cruelty and protection laws beforehand to ensure that live feeding is not illlegal in your area.

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