Milk Snakes And Kings - Close Relatives - Care Sheet

14/03/2011 16:30

Since King snake and milk snake are closely related, belong to genus Lampropeltis, their basic care and housing requirements will be pretty much identical. They are escape artist, so a tight enclosure with a secure mesh top lid is very important. If there is any small (very small) gap or hole, your pet snake will escape.

King snakes are known for testing their enclosures, looking for a way out and escaping from the smallest of spaces. It may be more expensive to set up a tight enclosure, but it will be worth it. Remember that snakes can squeeze themselves through spaces that are so small it doesn't seem possible. Other trick to prevent escape is by placing plastic tubing between the rim of the tank and the lid.

Hatchlings can be started out in a 10 gallon tank, and medium sized adult snakes can be housed in 20 gallon tank. The larger and longer full grown snake should be housed in a 60 gallon tank. King snakes and milk snakes are active and need the space. Provide them the space to stretch fully out to reduce the incidence of respiratory infections. One more important thing, cannibalism is normal for milk snakes and king snakes, so never keep more than one snake per an enclosure. And make sure to leave your snake alone in its new home for a few days before you start handling him.

For new snakes, start it off on paper towels or butcher paper. These materials is easy to change and allow you to monitor of the feces until certain the snake is free of parasites. Other materials that can be used as substrate include aspen shavings, outdoor carpeting or reptile bark. Never use cedar or pine, cedar are toxic while pine's strong smell can make same potential breathing problems.
Choose the substrate that is appropriate for your species of king snakes or milk snakes and that is not difficult to clean as often as necessary.

Temperature Humidity and Water
As with other reptiles, King snake and milk snake needs a temperature gradient in order to stay healthy and regulate its temperature. To provide a temperature gradient for your pet king snake and milk snake is by placing a heating pad (people heating pads or one developed for reptiles) under the tank at one end. It is ideal to use under the tank heating pads instead of hot rocks or heat lamps. Maintain the temperature gradient of about 76 86 F (24-30 C) during the day and 70 74 F (21-23 C) at night. If you are providing an enclosure with high sides (to establish basking and hiding areas), you should make the gradient is both horizontal and vertical. Use thermometers to monitor the temperature, and ideally should be placed in cool and warm end, and at any other area where your snake spends much of its time.

Place a dish of water for your pet snake. This is generally all the humidity they will need. They will often soak in the water, especially prior to a shed. The water dish needs to be changed daily, as snakes will often defecate in the water.
It is a good idea to place one hiding place on the warm end, and one hide on the cool end of enclosure, so that your pet king snake and milk snake does not feel exposed when it ventures across the cage for water. Half rounds of bark, commercial rock hides, overturned flower pots, half coconut shells, and even cardboard boxes can be used for hides. Other cage furnishings can include a selection of rocks and branches.
As with all others snake, feeding milk snake and king snake pre killed prey is recommended, to ensure that the prey cannot injure the snake. As general guideline, feed the snake the size of prey that is about the same size around snake's body at the widest part. This is to prevent regurgitations, which can be deadly.
Hatchlings are started out with one or two day old pinkie mice. Feed one to two mice every two to seven days. A snake will grow faster being fed several small preys a couple of times a week rather than one big prey once a week.
Sub adult snake can be offered bigger mice one or more times a week, while adult can be fed adult mice or weanling rats once or twice a week. Start with once a week, and if the snake is too lean (not well rounded body, visible line of backbone or ribs) feed twice a week. You will find that milk snake and king snake are hungrier in the spring and summer, and tend to eat less in the fall and winter. It is okay as long as snake stays active.
After feeding your pet snake, avoid handling the snake at least two days so that the snake can digest its meal to prevent regurgitation. Regurgitation is relatively common in milk snake and king snake. A prey that is too large, too cool enclosure or illness may also causing regurgitation. If regurgitation is recurring after correcting care, check with a vet.






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