California Kingsnake

Lampropeltis getula californiae





Lampropeltis getula californiae are relatively large snakes, reaching lengths of up to 210 cm, that can be found across all environments in California (3)(4). Their normal coloration is alternating dark and light bands (4). Sexual maturity is reached after 3-4 years and clutches of 6-12 eggs are laid between May and August (1)(4). Their wide diet including small mammals, birds and other snakes contributes to their widespread distribution (2)(4). They are relatively immune to some types of snake venom, including rattlesnake and coral snake (4). California kingsnakes are non-venomous, instead killing their prey by constriction (1).


(1) Nafis, G. (2000-2016) California Herps - A Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of California. California Kingsnake - Lampropeltis californiae.

(2) Jackson, K., Kley, N. J., & Brainerd, E. L. (2004). How snakes eat snakes: The biomechanical challenges of ophiophagy for the California kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula californiae (Serpentes: Colubridae). Zoology, 107(3), 191-200.

(3) Morey, S. (n.d.). California Kingsnake Lampropeltis californiae (United States of America, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Interagency Wildlife Task Group) (R. Duke, Ed.). CA.

(4) Stebbins, R. C., McGinnis, S. M., & Stebbins, R. C. (2012). Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of California (Revised ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

(Photograph) © Alice Abela