King snakes can be strong characters, active and inquisitive snakes so it is important that they are provided with a good amount of space in which they can exercise and be mentally stimulated. A minimum of 4 x 2 x 2ft is crucial, as well as providing a wide variety of branches, rocks, tunnels and foliage which can be utilised safely by the animal. A number of hides such as caves are also important, ideally at least one on the hot and one on the cold end, though more is beneficial, to ensure your King Snake feels secure in all areas of its enclosure and reduce stress. To make the environment even more stimulating you can also change decor around every now and then! Another vital addition is a water bowl, ideally large enough for the snake to submerge in, which will not only keep them hydrated, but provide them opportunity to bathe - great for when they are shedding. The bowl would be best placed in the cooler area to prevent the water evaporating and contributing to humidity.
For substrate, King Snakes can be kept on a soft wood, such as soft chip, orchid bark or on a more natural sand/soil mix, replicating their natural habitat a bit more. The sand mix ensures that the soil is not too humid on its own. This should be spot cleaned as needed, as snakes do tend to only defecate once a week, and then fully cleaned on a regular basis, ideally every couple of months with a reptile safe disinfectant.
Reptiles like your King Snake cannot regulate their internal body temperatures without external heat sources. This means there needs to be a good heat gradient within the vivarium, giving them a hot end of around 30 - 32C, going down to about 22 - 25C at the cool end, and including a drop to around 15C overnight to replicate a natural night time drop. This can be achieved best with the use of a basking bulb or ceramic bulb, and anything used should be controlled with a thermostat. Temperatures can be measured with an accurate digital thermometer. Additionally any bulbs will require a bulb guard on them, as snakes do have a tendency to wrap around bulbs which can cause burns. A heat mat could be used as a non-light emitting heat source for overnight if required, which ensures that the snakes still get a good day and night cycle as well. As with all snakes, UVB has not always been used in keeping the King Snake, however it has been shown to be extremely beneficial to their general health and well-being, boosting their immune systems and overall wellness, so a low level, such as the Arcadia ShadeDweller is highly recommeneded, alternatively, for the larger vivariums such as the adult 2ft tall, a 6% strip with reflector may be more beneficial. All UV will need replacing every 6 - 12 months - depending on the bulb and brand, as after this they are no longer effective even if still glowing.
King Snakes are best fed on frozen thawed rodents, ideally mice, going up in size as they grow. An adult may reach the size to take a young rat, though mice tend to be sufficient and more likely to keep the snake in weight. As youngsters that are still growing, weekly feeding is ideal, though this may be extended to every other week for adults, using their body condition to judge this and depending on their meal.
Swell SuperStore Apalachicola King Snake:
- Current Age/Size - 25 - 30cm approx
- Adult Expected Size - 4 - 5ft
- Habitat - From desert basins, grasslands, shrub lands and forests of North America. Terrestrial living.
- Required Enclosure Size - 4 x 2 x 2ft
- UV Lighting - 2 - 3 UVI (Shade dweller or 6% T5 - enclosure height dependent)
- Expected Lifespan - 15 - 20 Years
- Temperature Gradient - 22 - 32C
- Humidity Levels - 40 - 50%
- Feeding - Carnivores - frozen prey such as mice, rats, and chicks. mice recommended as stable. Feeding every 1-2 weeks.
- Handling - Can be characterful when young though usually easily tamed. Handling to be avoided 48 hours after feeding and when shedding.
If you like the look of these animals, and would like any further information, please call the shop directly on 0161 351 4705, or contact them for more images or information at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Livestock List is updated regularly, but please call ahead to ensure we still have what you want, or to reserve something you may have seen.