California Mountain King Snake

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California Mountain King Snake

Lampropeltis zonata


All four of our snakes were captive hatched. Our eldest snake was donated to CuriOdyssey in 1998. Another snake was captive hatched at the University of California Santa Cruz. There he was used in non-invasive experiments using different spectrums of light. He was transferred to CuriOdyssey in July of 2006. The two other snakes were also hatched at UCSC, are the San Diego subspecies, and have been here since July 2011.

Fun Facts

Bright patterns and coloration usually serve as a warning signal to predators that an animal is venomous. In the case of the California Mountain King Snake, which is not venomous, it not only has bright coloration, but it also mimics the colors of the very venomous Coral Snake.

Birth Date

The first two snakes were born in 1998 and on July 2, 2002. The next two were both born 2009.

Diet in the Wild

Feeds on other snakes, lizards, bird eggs and nestlings, and occasionally small mammals.

Diet at the Museum


Life Span

In the Wild: 10 to 15 years.
In Captivity: 15 years.


Most coniferous, woodland, and chaparral habitats from sea level to 9000 ft. Prefers well-lit rocky stream beds with heavy rock cover or rotting logs.


Baja California north to Southern Washington.

Conservation Status:

Not endangered, although there are 5 subspecies, each with very irregular and spotty distribution. Those snakes have been targeted by California Fish and Game for special consideration. The primary threat to the California Mountain King Snake is habitat loss from large-scale development, which drains the moist habitats they require. The pet trade is injurious to these snakes, but more from habitat destruction than from loss of individual animals to captivity; when wet rocks and rotting logs are overturned to search for snakes underneath, these important moist hiding places are ruined.