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  1. #1
    Registered User Hugsplox's Avatar
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    Possibly in the market

    Looking for a little advice and maybe some more seasoned opinions. I recently acquired a front opening 40 gallon thatís been taking up space in my reptile room, and Iíve been toying with the idea of a king snake. Obviously, Iím in the very early stages of considering this, but would like to hear some keeperís opinions on these guys, and if theyíre a rewarding species to keep.

    Iím familiar with colubrids having kept western hognose snakes for years, but kings are a brand-new territory for me. Other than general care, which Iím digging through every care sheet I can find to get, is there anything that maybe isnít as well known about these as it should be? Difficulties that youíve had that donít get talked about often?

    I donít really have specific questions, like I said Iím in the early stages of enclosure research and research on the species itself but would love any and all information you king keepers can provide.

  2. #2
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    King snakes are usually pretty easy to keep- pretty straightforward- and they stay a modest size for handling. They're attractive & usually very good feeders- some can be a little too food-focused, but with some regular handling most calm down & aren't biters. They generally accept f/t prey easily. Most have temperature & humidity requirements that are easily met (unlike BPs). Hatchlings are escape artists though- and a gap of .25" is the "Grand Canyon" to them, might as well leave the door open.

    Most kings will burrow under their substrate routinely, so choose your substrate & decor so it's not constantly up-ended- "plan" for them to burrow. One thing that would please a king to no end is a false floor with a hole or 2 into the "basement"- which should be shallow (low height) & feel secure, as that's what they'd inhabit in nature- like a rock crevice. Obviously you'll still need access to clean the "basement" so the floor could be made to lift up- snakes never clean their own rooms, lol. Years ago (in the home of a well-respected snake breeder who specialized in breeding high-end milk & king snakes, etc.) I've seen beautiful custom cabinets designed for snakes that had a glass front "display" upper floor, with holes into the "basement" that was actually a drawer that pulled out to clean. Not many go to that trouble any more, I suspect, but it worked well for those lucky & colorful snakes.

    You can also use hides that mimic this, such as this design: https://beanfarm.com/collections/bed...hide-out-small
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  4. #3
    BPnet Senior Member EL-Ziggy's Avatar
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    Re: Possibly in the market

    I think kingsnakes are awesome smaller snakes. Like Bogertophis said, theyíre beautiful, very easy to care for, and many of them have a very strong food drive. Itís great though because the largest prey theyíll need is a jumbo mouse or maybe a small rat. If I ever get another small snake, itíll be a king.
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  6. #4
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    By the way, one advantage of those hides is that your snake will feel VERY secure inside, & able to grab prey that's left on top near the hole- they can eat without getting a mouthful of substrate.

    Most king or milk snakes don't stay shy for long, but the young ones are tiny & vulnerable in the wild, so they love this design- it helps them become good feeders.

    I've used these hides & never thought about modifying them, but some also do that- the plastic isn't hard to cut. The water bowl weighing down the hide is helpful with snakes that burrow- it's a very functional design.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  8. #5
    Registered User Hugsplox's Avatar
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    Re: Possibly in the market

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    By the way, one advantage of those hides is that your snake will feel VERY secure inside, & able to grab prey that's left on top near the hole- they can eat without getting a mouthful of substrate.

    Most king or milk snakes don't stay shy for long, but the young ones are tiny & vulnerable in the wild, so they love this design- it helps them become good feeders.

    I've used these hides & never thought about modifying them, but some also do that- the plastic isn't hard to cut. The water bowl weighing down the hide is helpful with snakes that burrow- it's a very functional design.

    Yea I like the idea of these and will probably put in an order for one. As far as burrowing, I've always used aspen for my hognoses and they seem to love it. Figured it would work for these guys as well.

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  10. #6
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Yes, aspen is a good choice for them, though personally I've always used Carefresh & paper shreds (my own) etc. Either way though.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  12. #7
    Registered User Hugsplox's Avatar
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    Re: Possibly in the market

    Would you all recommend overhead heat sources like a CHE in addition to a UTH? Our careguide recommends 70-75 for an ambient temp, which I can maintain without additional heat sources, and can creat a hot spot with a UTH, but wasn't sure if maybe overhead heat for these guys would be an enrichment addition, so to speak.

  13. #8
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Possibly in the market

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugsplox View Post
    Would you all recommend overhead heat sources like a CHE in addition to a UTH? Our careguide recommends 70-75 for an ambient temp, which I can maintain without additional heat sources, and can creat a hot spot with a UTH, but wasn't sure if maybe overhead heat for these guys would be an enrichment addition, so to speak.
    It might depend on specifically what you're keeping (like a desert king as opposed to another type), but the ambient temps. in my house has rarely 'required' overhead heating- at the most, a daytime light (or CHE) that's dimmed & used seasonally. Mostly I rely on UTH- that's the best for kings or milks. You can always try a warming light during the day in winter- see how they feel about it. As the days get shorter & if there's a bit of chill, adding a dimmed light w/ warmth (by day) can improve their appetite -but it's not usually a problem anyway.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    BPnet Senior Member EL-Ziggy's Avatar
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    Re: Possibly in the market

    I only used belly heat for my kings. They did just fine with ambient temps. Some winter nights/mornings their temps would be in the high 60s and they were still pretty active. I also love that that theyíre diurnal. Theyíre not great display snakes, they hide and burrow a lot, but they can be active during the day or night. Both my kings did take annual winter food breaks and pick up eating again in the spring.
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  17. #10
    BPnet Lifer KMG's Avatar
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    Images: 53
    My first snake was a Cali King as a kid. My dad let me get it and took me to pick it up. I found it for free in the newspaper and he made it all happen for me....but it had to live in the barn(mom's orders). Anyways it would have never happened without my dad and after he passed I thought back about that often when dealing with my snakes.....for whatever reason.

    So with that I decided I wanted to get a King as a remembrance of my dad. I bought a Brooks King from a local shop that breeds and she is awesome. Eats like a champ and had done nothing but grow since I got her. She is a real beauty and took to me fairly quickly.

    After that I ran across a kid wanting to get rid of a Spec King to get a Ball. He bought it from one of the online sources and it was still tiny. He just didn't like how active they are.....and I believe they were having trouble getting it to eat. Always up for a challenge I gave it a home and with a little work he is now striking and eating well too. He is still skittish and likes to pee on me when I pick him up. He doesn't bite my anymore though so we are moving in the right direction. Honestly it doesn't pee on me every time now days either. A little more time and he should work out of that.

    Both are being kept in a rack with a thick layer of substrate(Forest Floor), hide, some moss, and a water bowl. Very simple setup and very little is needed. I don't mist them even during shed. Not regularly anyways. Occasionally I will but it is just not needed with my standard humidity in my snake room.....but then I don't have to mist my Ball either. Thanks to Texas weather.

    Overall I think Kings are great and very easy to care for.
    KMG
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