Do California Kingsnakes Make Good Pets and Are They Right For You?

Do California kingsnakes make good pets?

California kingsnakes are beautiful snakes that make great pets for the right person. However, before purchasing one it is important to understand why they make great pets for some but not for others. With that let’s discuss whether or not California kingsnakes make good pets and if they are right for you! 

California King Snakes make great pets due to their social and easy-going temperament ( though they are known to be a bit nippy). The California King Snake is low maintenance, widely available, and visually striking. 

With proper socialization and handling, they can be quite friendly and develop a strong bond with their keeper. California kingsnakes also make great pets due to their size. They get long like ball pythons but are much slimmer and light weight. 

As you can see, these snakes have many desirable traits that you may be looking for when considering a snake as a pet. With few negatives to list, we will show you some of the many reasons that this snake species might be the one for you. 

Why California Kingsnakes Make Great Pets

The California King Snake is a fan favorite amongst reptile enthusiasts. For around $100, you can get a captive-bred snake from a reputable breeder. That is a pretty small investment for an excellent pet that you could have for up to two decades. 

But, it isn’t just the low cost of these animals that makes them so popular. California Kings are a solid snake choice across the board. Let us show you some of the reasons why.

California Kingsnakes Are Good Pets Due to Their Relaxed Temperaments

California kingsnakes typically are not aggressive and won’t attack or display defensive posturing unless they feel threatened or you smell like prey. A snake that is well housed, fed, handled, and generally taken care of should never have such a reason to defend itself.

For this reason, they make great snakes for those that like to spend a lot of quality time with their slithering pets. 

The only common downside is that California kingsnakes are known to bite. This is typically not because they are aggressive but because they mistake your hand for food.

You can read more about why this happens in my article: Do California Kingsnakes Bite?  That said, their bite is not likely going to do any serious damage.

But because of this, they might not make the best pets for very small children. But for an adult or older kid, they can be a great option. 

California Kingsnakes Are Good Low Maintenance Pets

California King’s don’t need their enclosure to be super warm, bright, and humid. These snakes like it on the cooler side since they spend a lot of time underground, under bushes, and amongst the leaf litter on the forest floor. They don’t need special lights as long as you have some decent natural lighting in the area where their tank is placed. 

The only specialties they’ll need are a heating pad for when they want to warm up a bit and a good place to hide when they need some alone time. Other than that, the set up for this type of King Snake can be pretty basic.

That said, keeping any pet snake takes work. Check out my Complete California Kingsnake Guide just to make sure you can fulfill their needs. 

California Kingsnakes Are Beautiful Pets

Your standard California King has dark bands that range from hazel to jet black and light-colored bands that can be yellow-gold or bright white. They have beautiful coloration on their scales that you might expect from more tropical species. 

These snakes also have a friendly face with big expressive eyes. Think of a cute little Corn Snake, though a few times larger. There are also many other colorations and patterns that have been bred by reptile breeders. While these can be gorgeous, they might cost significantly more. 

California Kingsnakes Are Good Pets For Handling

Once your snake is used to you, you’ll likely find that he or she enjoys coming out of their tank to spend some one on one time with you. A well-fed, well-cared-for snake can be a lot of fun to have draped around your neck as you move about the house or cuddled up on the sofa.

Because of their friendly nature, they are a great addition to most families, big or small.  

California Kingsnakes Are Good Sized Pets

California kingsnakes are medium-sized snakes when fully grown. Not too small as to be too fragile, but not too big as to be intimidating or more challenging to take care of.

They start at a little under a foot in length when they hatch and typically grow to about 3-5 feet long( though can reach 6 feet). Though 6 feet can seem a bit large, California Kings don’t get as girthy as tropical snakes of similar size. 

California kingsnakes typically only reach around 3 lbs in weight. A blood python of similar length on the other hand might weigh as much as 40 lbs. That said, a California kingsnake typically does not appear to be as long as they really are.

King Snakes don’t require too much space for their enclosure, either. A 30-gallon tank, adequately equipped, is more than sufficient. 

California Kingsnakes Make Good Pets For Many Years

Like many reptiles, California King Snakes can live a long life, usually between 15 to 20 years. So if you think you are ready for a snake now, make sure you want a snake for the next decade or two. 

So, the California King Snake is cute, friendly, easy to take care of, and fun to interact with. Is there anything bad to say about this snake? There’s got to be something, right?

The Downsides Of The California Kingsnake As A Pet

You’ll be pleased to know that there isn’t a lot negative to say about these snakes. They generally are so easygoing, well behaved, and simple to care for that there isn’t much to complain about. Nevertheless, here are a few of the downsides of the California King Snake. 

They Are Known To Bite

Though they are docile by nature and can get used to most things involved with living with a human, they can be a bit greedy and excitable when it comes to mealtime, but who doesn’t? This can lead to an accidental bite if your hand is near them when it comes time to chow down. 

A California King Snake does have teeth, but they aren’t that impressive. They’re also wholly venomless, so you don’t have to worry about that. If you do get bit, it will likely leave nothing more than a scratch, and as long as you handle it calmly, your snake will hold no ill feelings as long as they still get to eat their mouse.

Corn Snakes Might Be  Better For Beginners

If you are very concerned about handleability, temperament, and size, the smaller Corn Snake is another excellent beginner snake. Though the King and Corn are very similar in most aspects, the Corn Snake is generally smaller and more docile. So they might be a better choice if the snake is for a young person.

And that’s it. We told you that there wasn’t much bad to say about these animals. They can get nippy if they are extra excited for the food, and your hand is in the way, and they aren’t available for purchase in all areas. 

Is The California Kingsnake A Good Pet For You?

California kingsnakes are typically calm and friendly and can make for a great pet snake. For the right owner, the California kingsnake might make the best pet. Hopefully, this article has helped you to decide on the purchase of your first snake. 

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