California King Snake


ORDER: Squamata

FAMILY: Colubridae

GENUS: Lampropeltis

SPECIES: getulus californiae

DESCRIPTION:
Skin has various patterns (bands, stripes, speckles) and colors (black and white, brown and yellow, etc). Adults are at least 3 feet long.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Western U.S. from Baja California, north to Oregon and Southern Utah and east to western Arizona. Lives in rock outcrops, semi-desert, brushy hillsides, or pine forests.

DIET:
Mice, lizards, birds, other snakes. Crepuscular, but nocturnal during hot, summer months.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Oviparous. Lays around two dozen eggs in rotted logs, etc. Young hatch in two months and are about a foot long.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
King snakes are wholly or partially immune to the venom of rattlesnakes and will kill and eat them. This behavior gives them a good reputation with humans in rural areas.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
The Education Department snake is named "Majapa" which means "Headman" in the Yahi(Native American) tribe.

OUR ANIMALS:
1 Male. He is used in our Education and Zoomobile programs and is not viewable by the public.

STATUS IN WILD:
Not considered endangered.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Mehrtens, John. 1987. Living Snakes of the World, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York, NY, pp. 115, 121.

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