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First Kingsnake Advice?

Discussion in 'Kingsnakes' started by v7osiris, Dec 12, 2014.

  1. v7osiris

    v7osiris New Member

    I'm not entirely new to snakes, I've handled them many times and taken care of them for a friend for a fairly long period of time. I've also owned leopard geckos, so I have a general idea of how reptile terrariums are set up.
    Recently, I've been looking into buying a kingsnake (Mexican black kingsnake, to be specific). Could someone give me some tips on what to buy as soon as I get him?

    First order of business is the terrarium/vivarium/cage/tank/whatever you want to call it. I've heard people say that snakes need about a square foot of space per foot of snake, and I'd rather get a large terrarium for my snake even as a juvenile than have to buy a new one in a few years. Since Mexican black kingsnakes get 3-4 ft long, that would be a 3-4 sq. ft terrarium. Approximately how many gallons is that? Also, substrate--is sand good for kings, or should I use aspen? It doesn't really matter to me, but what's more comfortable for the snake?

    Secondly, how often would I need to feed it (I know kingsnakes tend to be more ravenous than most other snakes)?
    I'll be feeding it frozen-thawed mice of the appropriate size and occasionally a live mouse or something else (maybe a feeder anole?), I hope that's okay.

    Also, are kingsnakes more prone to biting people than corn snakes? The snakes I mentioned earlier were corns, and I could hold them without the slightest fear of being bitten by them. Even if my king does bite me, I don't really mind colubrid teeth, but I want to let my younger cousins and family members be able to handle my snake occasionally and I don't want it to bite them. I've heard that juveniles bite more, which is understandable, and that once they learn that you aren't a threat they rarely bite at all.

    Okay, sorry for the long post, but I want my kingsnake to be happy and comfortable.
    Thanks in advance for any advice!
  2. toddnbecka

    toddnbecka Well Established Member

    A 40 breeder or a 55 would be fair sized tanks for an adult MBK, you could start it out in a plastic tub until it grows a bit. Aspen would be better than sand, much easier to clean. Set up the enclosure before you get the snake, and make sure the temp and humidity are correct and stable.
    I would presume it could be fed as often as a baby corn snake, more often will make it grow faster. I feed my Okeetee every 6 days, currently taking 2 f/t pinky mice at a time, will likely move up to fuzzy mice after the next shed. I could feed it every 4-5 days but I'm not in any rush to grow it out. Still waiting for my mice to start producing young, may feed more often when there's a steady supply of them coming along.
    From what I've read about MBK's they're less bitey than most other species of king snakes. It depends on the individual snake to some extent too, as well as how they're handled.
  3. CTU2fan

    CTU2fan Elite Member

    I tried sand with my Cali king and I didn't like it much at all. It seemed to get between her scales and overall just wasn't a good substrate. I've never used aspen but I did switch to cypress mulch which she seemed to like better.

    My king wasn't really a biter, but she really wasn't big on being held either, she always wanted to be on the move, not a snake to just coil around you and relax like some constrictor types do.
  4. CrazySnakeLady

    CrazySnakeLady Elite Member

    I know aspen bedding has worked fine for the cali king I'm fostering (but I prefer ReptiCarpet because I had a snake that was "allergic" to aspen). He eats once a week, a 4 - 5 day old pinky mouse. He can get in a bitey fit sometimes, but for the most part, he just LOVES to spray you with musk. As long as you really work with them, the biting shouldn't be a problem. But don't expect dramatic change until they get bigger! Lol. I would suggest interacting with the snake you want to purchase before buying it because every snake is different! Get to know how it handles, make sure it is eating, and see if it is healthy.
  5. jonny274

    jonny274 Member

    As a Juvenile, you should commit to a 2-3 day spread feeding schedule.
  6. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Hi there, this thread is pretty old. Please be sure to check the dates of the threads you are posting in to make sure they are current.
  7. jonny274

    jonny274 Member

    Oops, this forum must be pretty inactive then since this was one of the top 5 most recent posts. Sorry! :)
    mshrmheadcharge likes this.
  8. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    It's ok, maybe OP will see this and update us!

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