California Common Kingsnakes

Order: Squamata; Family: Colubridae; Species: Lampropeltis getula californiae 

Range: West coast of North America; from the tip of Baja to southern Oregon, and the west coast of California to the desert areas of Nevada and Arizona.      

Habitat: Desert, woodlands, chaparral, farmland, river bottoms, grasslands, deciduous and coniferous forests, rocky outcrops, clumps of vegetation, and under rotting logs and old lumber.  

Diet: Opportunistic, they will eat other snakes (ophiophagy), lizards, salamanders, rodents, birds, eggs, frogs, and small mammals.  

Size: Between 3-5 feet in length, rarely over 5 feet. They are fairly slender.

Lifespan: They can reach 10-15 years in the wild, 20 or more years in captivity.  

Turtle Bay California Common Kingsnake.jpg

Rex, Regina, & Princess

Rex and Regina's history is unknown, but they are believed to have been taken from the wild and kept as pets before being sent to Turtle Bay. Princess is their offspring, hatched July 22, 2013. 


Fun Facts

  • Mainly terrestrial but will sometimes climb trees.

  • Crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk. During very hot weather, activity is primarily nocturnal).

  • They are equipped with an enzyme the breaks down the venom from venomous snakes, minimizing the damage they suffer from bites, making them able to eat rattlesnakes. The practice of eating venomous snakes makes them exceptional among the reptiles and is why they are considered the king of snakes.

  • There is some sexual dimorphism in this species with the females usually being larger than males (to allow for space to produce eggs), however this is not always true as our pair is opposite- the male (Rex) is much larger than the female (Regina).

  • Kingsnakes are one of the most popular and collected species of snakes due to their adaptability as pets and ease of care. We ask that people please only acquire animals who were  bred in captivity, as their numbers have declined due to capture for the pet trade.

  • As a defense they give off a smelly musk when captured and may bite.

  • Like the gopher snake, they also vibrate their tail when captured or alarmed; if the snake is in leaves the sound is like that of a rattle.