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Considering a King As a Starter

Discussion in 'Colubrids *General*' started by Grimsley, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. Grimsley

    Grimsley Member

    Hello :)
    I've recently started throwing around the idea of getting a snake. I've never owned one before, so I'm eager to learn everything I can before I start looking. The most exotic pet I've ever owned was a hedgehog =/ But I researched for months before getting him!

    My problem is that I can't decide which snake would be best for me. I've been lurking the forums for a while and the top suggestion seems to be Corns. Unfortunately, no offense to the Corn lovers, but I'm just not into them. I do, however, like the Kings. I also really love the cute Hognoses, but I haven't really researched them. And my friend has been telling me I should get a BP, but I know I'm not ready for that. I'd rather start small, even though I'd love to have a Ball Python or a Brazilian Rainbow someday <3

    Now, I've read good and bad things about the Kings. I've read that some are moody and some are mellow, but I'm sure all snakes have their own personality, right? Does their color/pattern come into that? Sorry, I'm pretty ignorant about reptiles :( I personally really like the Gray-bandeds, the Mexican Blacks, and the Lavenders.

    I would greatly appreciate any info anybody can give me! :D
  2. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    I suggest a King snake or a western Hog nose
    My king was my first and is the most lovable docile snake i could imagine. And my hog is even more so! BOTH great snakes!!!
  3. skelly98

    skelly98 Elite Member

    Like nikki said, hoggies are great, very aware and friendly snakes.

    If you don't like hoggies or they are too expensive for you, then corns, kings, or milks are good starter snakes, but keep in mind some milks and kings are not very handleable, and can musk and such.
  4. cctbspencer

    cctbspencer Elite Member

    It's awesome that you are researching possibilities first. Just be sure that you set up your enclosure in it's entirety before acquiring an animal. I've seen a lot of people read everything that they can get their hands on and then turn around and throw a snake into an empty fish tank.

    Most all kings are calm and do not mind handling. They can develop a very strong feeding response if all you ever do is open the viv, toss in the feeder, and walk away. As long as you handle the animal on days other than feeds, you're good. The same can be said of other species as well though. Four of my five kingsnakes have never bitten me. The fifth did so only after I went into his tub smelling like a mouse. Even if you are bitten, it's really not that big of a deal.

    Some gray banded kings are problem feeders even as captive born individuals. I have never owned a Mexican black, so I cannot speak of them. I currently have a male ruby eyed lavender California who is totally awesome and is my second favorite snake to handle behind my Dumerils.

    Do you have any friends or family who owns snakes? If so, perhaps you cound spend time with their animal(s) off and on while completing your research. Keep everyone posted as to what you decide and how it goes.
  5. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    I have a California King in my house, and he's really a sweet little snake. I do recommend handling often though, as they tend to get ornery if left alone for long and then handled. And like it was said, you'll need to be sure you handle them not just on feeding days, as they will learn to associate you with food if you let them. I have been bit too, and didn't even notice.

    I know someone who owns a Mexican black and I handled her and she was a great snake! Very calm, very easy to handle. She's brought out in public a lot and handled by a variety of strangers and does very well. The all-black color is pretty nice too.

    From personal experience, either snake in my opinion comes highly recommended.

    If there are any upcoming reptile expos in your area, that's a great place to go, speak with breeders, and handle the snakes they have for sale. That can give you a better idea of what you want.

    Good luck in your search! :)
  6. Grimsley

    Grimsley Member

    Thanks for everybody's input! I have a list of everything I need to get next week. I intend on having everything perfect before I bring a new baby home! I'm hoping the pet store I'm going to will let me handle a snake or two, but if not I'm going to an expo next month. If I don't find the one for me, I'm at least going to handle a ton of snakes! Unfortunately, I don't know anybody that has snakes :/

    I'm leaning towards a Mexican Black. If I can, I'm going to get a slightly older one. Maybe a juvenile or a sub-adult. With Kings, would a 20 gallon terrarium be okay for a juvenile or should I start with a 10? It would be no problem to go bigger if he needs to.
  7. Pharoahound

    Pharoahound Elite Member

    If you plan on purchasing from a pet store chain ike Petco it would be worth it to wait and buy from a breeder at an expo. What expo are you attending?
  8. Grimsley

    Grimsley Member

    Oh, I don't plan on buying there. Just getting supplies :)
    I'm attending one in Noblesville, Indiana on Nov. 4.
  9. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Wait until the expo! You will have more to chose from, you can talk to the breeders and you can handle snakes till the cows come home!
    And you will pay about half or less at the expo than you would at the petstore.
  10. Grimsley

    Grimsley Member

    I'm not getting one there :(

    Lol sorry, I guess I didn't specify in my post. I don't buy animals from chain pet stores. I'll be getting a lot of my supplies from there, though. If they'll let me, I'd like to handle the snakes they have. Just to get a feel for it before the expo.

    I plan on buying from the expo. Hopefully, I'll find one there. If not, I'll wait for another expo :)
  11. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    If your expos are anything like ours up here, you will have no problem seeing and handling a variety of snakes! I've been to expos both large and small up here, and there always seem to be at least one breeder who has kings. However, I find they do sell out relatively fast, so depending on whether they're as popular where you're from as they are up here, you may want to get to the show as early as possible.

    If you don't find what you're looking for at the expo, really spend the time talking to the breeders and finding out if any of them normally breed kings. There may be some who do breed them, but didn't have any ready for the show. You can then arrange to purchase one from them at another time, and some may even offer pre-purchases at a discounted rate. :)

    As for tank size, I started off my juvi in a 20 - just be sure to include plenty of hides so they feel secure.
  12. cctbspencer

    cctbspencer Elite Member

    We passed on our Beardie, Acheron, at a show. A week later we realized how badly we wanted him and e-mailed the breeder. She still had him and we ended up getting him for less than the show price even including shipping costs.;)
  13. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    A 10 is fine for a baby. 20 is better. As long as you have plenty of hides and if you get a king, you need a moist hide for humidity. I have mine in a 10 right now, shes just under a foot long. They will be good in that for up to a year. But will need at least a 20 or 30 after that.
  14. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    the expo's are great! I picked up a Hognose, beardie and a tarantula! All after holding a billion animals lol
  15. Grimsley

    Grimsley Member

    Thank you for the expo advice :)
    I've never been to one before, so I'm really excited to even just go to one! I'll be sure to get there early. I think I'll be picking up my 20 gal tomorrow and maybe the heating supplies. I've already found a ton of hides and tank furniture online that I'm in love with, so he'll have plenty of privacy. He'll be my first and only snake (at least for a while), so I'm excited to spoil him!
  16. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Expos are just awful! You go there to pick up some feeders so you don't have to pay shipping and you see all these cte and awesome reptiles and you think to yourself "must resist! Have no available tanks! Must finish current enclosures! Must look but NO touching!" And then you walk past several more stalls and you see the babies and you start thinking "no, I already have one of those I don't need another!" And guess what happens?
    That's rigt you take home 4 more! And then as icing on the cake you start planning for the next one that is one month away!
    Such awful horrible things!!!

    I wish they had more closer to where I live.
  17. Grimsley

    Grimsley Member

    I'm sure my heart will be tugged in several different directions while I'm there!

    I have just a few more questions, guys :) While I'm at the expo, what sort of questions should I be asking? Last fed and shed? I've watched videos and read up on what a healthy snake should look like, so I think I'm okay on that. Also, what are the chances of finding a MBK? Are they expensive/rare? I'm falling more in love with them, but I don't want to get my hopes up on finding one if it's unlikely.
  18. Jlassiter

    Jlassiter Elite Member

    MBKs are not rare in the US and should cost under $50 each.
    You can ask for last shed/fed records but a reputable breeder shouldn't sell a snake unless it is healthy and feeding readily.
  19. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    What he said!
    But if you get to someone who can't/won't tell you when it fed or doesn't seem interested in talking to you,...walk on by.
    Thats not to say that you should expect a vendor who is dealing with customers to drop everything and chat with you. Most vendors I have met are more than happy to bend your ear about snakes! Thats one of the great things about expos. Its just chock full of people who are as crazy about herps as we are!
  20. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    I feel that anytime you buy an animal you should ask if they feed regularly and what the person feeds them. For snakes the type and size of food and how often they are feed. These questions will give you an idea of the health of the animal as well as give a reference for what you should start off feeding.

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