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Unless you have a burning desire to know the gender of your California kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula california) or plan to breed it, there’s no practical reason to seek this information. Male and female California kingsnakes look alike, although adult females tend to be larger. Probing or palpating in search of a snake’s manhood are reliable sexing methods but should be performed only by trained individuals.
California kingsnakes hail from the arid regions of Baja and southwestern California, where they feed on local fare such as gopher snakes (Pituophis), racers (Coluber), mice and California alligator lizards (Elgaria multicarinata multicarinata). Reputable breeders and pet retailers are the best places to purchase California kingsnakes. Captive-bred specimens make better pets and settle for store-bought pre-killed mice.
I Think I Love You
Male kingsnakes reach sexual maturity at 1 to 4 years of age, females at 2 to 4 years. Males and females exhibit distinctively different behaviors as the May through June breeding season approaches. When ready to mate, females shed their skins all over the cage to attract males with the scent. Females become ravenous and can’t seem to get enough grub during the breeding season, while males turn up their noses at prey.
King of Pain
Don’t cage multiple juvenile California kingsnakes together. Adults should be kept alone, unless you’re breeding them. Keep one male with several females. As their name suggests, these guys are notorious snake eaters and readily scarf each other down.
- California State University, Sacramento: Snake Gender Determination
- Applegate Reptiles: Kingsnakes and Milksnakes
- Animal Diversity Web: Lampropeltis getula -- Common Kingsnake
- Reptile Channel: California Kingsnake Care Sheet
- Holly House Vets: King Snake Lampropeltis getula and Milk Snake Lampropeltis Triangulum Care Plan
- Aqua-Fish: Lampropeltis Mexicana (Kingsnakes) -- Information and Proper Care
- Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo: California King
- Long Island Herpetological Society: Kingsnakes and Milk Snakes
- Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images