Mexican Black Kingsnake is a cool snake. Known for its black colour hence the name. This is what they look like
Table of Contents
Mexican black Kingsnake Overview
They are non venomous and can be found in north America. These guys are small to medium sized snakes so they aren’t too big compared to some of the snakes out there.
They are known for their cool color which actually shines when under the sun. as seen in the picture above they have this nice glimmer to them when light is shining directly on them
If you’re new to reptiles as pets these guys are great because they like being handled. One thing you have to worry about with reptiles is stress. You don’t want to overstress a reptile and cause it to not trust you or the environment its in. Bearded dragons for example are incredibly social and like being held and handled which makes them perfect for new reptile caretakers
Check out the rest of the article below
Are Mexican Black Kingsnakes good pets to own?
i have to say they are great for beginners. They are easy to handle and don’t require too much extreme care to make them happy. Like other pets if you give them the right conditions they will make an awesome choice for a pet
Their diet is simple as well so you won’t be needing to give them a huge variety of food to keep them happy. They will pretty much eat anything you put in front of them.
The good things about these snakes is they are small to medium sized so when you handle them it doesn’t take a lot of experience
They are social. You will see them relaxing in the basking lights a lot of the time
They are also Diurnal reptile so they will be awake during the day and sleep at night
There’s a few things i want you to know as Mexican Black Kingsnakes aren’t perfect
- You can’t house them with other snakes. They will eat one another
- Hatchlings may nip/ bite you. They are small so its not like it will hurt you much but they will need to learn how to trust you over time
- They like to hunt so they will need a lot of space which will require a big enclosure
What are Mexican Black Kingsnakes anyways
A small list on Mexican black snakes
- They are cannibals
- their primary diet is… other snakes!
- They are nonvenomous and use constriction to kill their prey (they squeeze them to death basically)
- since they like to eat other snakes they are actually capable of stronger constriction capabilities. snakes themselves are resistant to constriction so they have developed big snakes muscles
- They are native to the Sonoran Desert, Mexico and Arizona
- They are known for their black color, however they are actually a really really dark brown color
- They will grow up to 48 inches in length
- common name is Mexican Black Kingsnake
- Price is between 250 and 300 dollars (sometimes more or less depending on where you shop for them)
- Lifespan is 25 to 30 years
Colour and Appearance
Easily recognized by their Black Colour but really they are actually a really dark chocolate brown color. You can see it better when under direct sunlight
The males and females are actually the same size so its difficult to tell them apart.
One more cool little thing about these specific king snakes is the fact that they don’t have a specific pattern like other kingsnakes do
Mexican Black Kingsnake Size
The adults reach up to 48 inches in length (4 Feet). This will take a few year to achieve though if you get them from a young age
When they are hatchlings they will be 6 -9 inches in length and will grow each year until they reach their full size. This can be fulfilling because like any other pet they will begin to bond with you and they will like being held by you more and more as they grow older
Mexican Black Kingsnake Care Guide
Below i will show you that its pretty easy to take care of a Mexican Black Kingsnake. With the right lighting and enclosure setup you will keep your kingsnake happy. The right diet is also a must too but like i mentioned above they will eat pretty much anything dead or alive
These guys are cannibals. They will eat other lizards, eggs, birds, rodents, toads, and other snakes. They have built up a natural ability to resist venom from other snakes too.
When feeding your Mexican Black Kingsnake make sure you don’t feed it anything too large. Snakes can unhinge their jaw and eat big prey if needed but since yours is going to be in captivity just keep it to the thickest part of their body
Frozen thawed Rodents are the best way to feed them in captivity. The reason you want to feed them frozen thawed is because live rodents put up a fight. They don’t want to be eaten obviously.
Those scratches and bites can give your Mexican Black King snake an infection. Especially around the eye where it would be the most dangerous
As with most other reptiles when your snake is a baby you want to feed it more often. Here’s a little table for you to see
|Babies(hatchlings)||Every 5 days|
|Juvenile (1 year old)||Every 7 days|
|Adult||Every 14 days (not when Shedding)|
Mexican Black Kingsnake Health concerns
These guys can develop respiratory infections and mouth rot like other reptiles can. Of course you need to feed your snake a proper diet and keep their enclosure clean to prevent bad things from happening.
Things to look out for if you think your snake might be sick
- Not eating their food
- open mouth breathing or wheezing
- Stuck Shed
- Self soaking for a long period of time
When they are healthy they will act like this
- Eating consistently
- They will Hunt like normal
- They will shed regularly and consistently
A couple more things to keep in mind when owning a Mexican Black Kingsnake is internal parasites. They could have come into contact with them from anywhere really. The snakes poop will show you if they are sick with it or not. Your vet will be able to help you out with that
Another thing is anorexia. Just make sure they’re eating. Anorexia can be caused by stress, or a bad enclosure setup so just keep your eye on them to make sure they’re happy
Snake mites can happen when you purchase your snake from pet stores and stuff like that. Your vet can help you with the right products to get rid of those
Mexican Black Kingsnake Enclosure
When setting up their enclosure you want to set things up so they are more comfortable on the ground. Think lots of rocks and shrubs. I am an advocate of replicating their natural habitat.
Mexican Black Kingsnakes can climb no problem as well so you can put a little branch inside if you want
When setting up their enclosure make sure to give them somewhere to get away from heat. One side of the enclosure can be warmer than the other if you prefer
Mexican Black Kingsnakes are really comfortable around people so you will find them in backyards and things like that. Sometimes in a shed or under a patio. Good thing they aren’t venomous!
Cage Size and habitat set up
i say this in most of my blog posts but you should be aiming to set up their habitat as close to nature as possible. This will keep them from becoming stressed. You don’t want stressed reptiles.
Think about what they would do in the wild. Mexican Black king snakes like to move along the ground but there will be obstacles in the way. Rocks, twigs and branches. Bushes and little places to hide.
Snakes can swim too so you can put a small body of water inside the enclosure too
Make sure you purchase the right type of enclosure for your snake. Glass is the best option. Glass and hard plastic enclosures hold onto humidity very well
The right tank size is going to be around 40-60 gallons. this is just my opinion as i think reptiles should have a lot of space to do what they do.
You need a basking light for them as well with a sand and soil mixture for their substrate.
If you get your snake at a young age then you can opt for a smaller tank, something around the 20 gallon range is fine. it might be a little big but you can keep it for a while until it becomes a full adult. You will know a tank has become too small when they begin to rub their nose on the side of the tank
The sand and soil mixture works great because they can slither along it fine and also burrow down underneath. You can use coconut fiber if you want as well. just remember like with any reptile that requires humidity to air out the enclosure and substrate sometimes. The right balance is required.
Snakes LOVE to hide so make sure there is enough places and hiding spots for him to disappear
Temperatures, Lighting and Humidity
At night you should bring the temperature down to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This goes for the whole tank. snakes will move from one area to the other based off the temperature which is called thermo-regulating.
The hot side of the tank you can set up the bulb up on surfaces like rocks and wood. The temp should reach around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a 75 watt light bulb over a rock on one side of the tank.
The rest of the tank can sit at 75 degrees. You can use a ceramic heater for this.
Keep the humidity around 50 percent.
if a tank gets too humid and isn’t aired out properly you can start to get bacteria and mold buildup inside the enclosure.
reptiles can get respiratory issues and scale rot from these kinds of things. Keeping your snake healthy is like keeping a person healthy. You don’t have to clean the snakes directly since they shed but keep their environment clean.
Clean the tank daily for poop and skin that has been shed.
Remember to let the substrate air out and keep the tank clean as often as possible. Its actually a good idea to remove everything from the tank and clean the tank out. Clean the rocks, branches, small logs, bushes and such.
when it comes to lighting some people do a 12 hour on and off cycle. You can do that if you want and you should use UV lighting if your snake isn’t near any sunlight.
the options for lighting include
Halogen light bulbs, which product UV rays and heat but remember that you can only use them in the day. Mexican Black Kingsnakes are NOT nocturnal. You will mess with their circadian rhythm if you put lights on during the day
You can also use fluorescent bulbs but they don’t produce heat. They still produce UV, rays though.
make sure you use a thermometer once in a while to make sure the heat doesn’t get too high because they can die from heat over-exposure
Handling your Mexican Black Kingsnake
These guys are a joy to handle. They aren’t too scared of you and that’s the key to reptiles handling. When reptiles are scared and stressed they will be jumpy and scared of you.
They will bond with you over time as you handle them more and more. Its important to know that patience is a virtue with reptiles. However Mexican Black Kingsnakes are cool.
Leave your snake alone after they’ve eaten. Give them at least 2 days.
Mexican Black Kingsnakes love to explore so they will actually want to leave their enclosure if you leave the door or lid open. If you want you can handle it only when it feels like leaving which is called Choice-based handling.
The best way to actually handle snakes is to not grip them tight like you would other kinds of animales and think of yourself like a tree. when i was in the second grade we had a lady that was a snake lover come in to show us her snakes. Most of the class was scared because the snake was bigger than us!. I came up to let the snake climb on me and she told me ACT LIKE A TREE. ill never forget it. They will climb and move around you and find a comfortable spot to sit and they will literally just sit there.
Mexican Black Kingsnake babies and Hatchlings
They tend to breed in the spring to summer months. They will lay a clutch of eggs ( around 6 to 12)
after about 2 and a half months they will hatch.
They hatch at about 8 inches in length
They will want to eat right after hatching so if you’re breeding them have something ready for them to eat.
Summary and facts about Mexican Black Kingsnakes
|Price||$200 to $250 dollars|
|Size||Around 4 feet (48 inches in length|
|Diet needs||Rodents and chicks|
|Temperature and humidity||75 to 80 degrees for normal temp|
90 degrees for basking and hot temps
50-60 percent for humidity (air out substrate often)
|Lifespan||20 to 25 years with good care|
|Tank Size||40-gallons (glass is best)|
|Scientific name||Lampropeltis getula nigrita|
|Popular alternatives are||California Kingsnake, ball python and corn snakes|
You will have lots of fun with you Mexican Black Kingsnake. Just take good care of them. Keep them properly fed and you will have a great little pet for many years
Be patient with how long it takes for them to trust you. Reptiles need time to get to bond with you.
Good luck and you can go here to purchase one and its needs if you like
Check out these other resources for excellent coverage on reptiles
Other reptiles i recommend are