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Thayer's Kingsnake
Variable Kingsnake
Nuevo Leon Kingsnake

Lampropeltis mexicana thayeri

Size:
  • Hatchling: 6 - 9 in.
  • Adult: 24 - 38 in.(normal)
    57.75 in.(record - Edwards County, Tx.)

Scalation:
  • Dorsal: 21 - 25 rows
  • Ventral: 190 - 211
  • Sub caudal: 51 - 65
  • Infra labial:10
  • Supra labial: 7
  • Anal Plate: Single

click to enlarge
Written by John Cherry
Coloration
Variable as the name implies, several phases have been known to be produced within the same clutch from like colored patterns. Phases include melanistic, milk snake phase, Leonis(similar to the"Alterna " morph of the Gray-Banded Kingsnake) and all possibilities in between. Ground color will range from a light gray, peach, silver, buff and/or triads that will rival any milk snake.

Head:
Normally displays a nuchal blotch that is light centered. Typically has a postoccular stripe.

Dorsal:
Blotched, ringed, saddled (usually with white rings) red to brown/black

Ventral:
Mottled dark and light gray with dorsal pattern fused into area at times

Range:
Eastern Slopes of the Mexican Plateaus in Tamaulipas, Mexico

Habitat:
Semi-montane to montane species that are found in the Tamaulipan desert areas, in habitat very similar to the limestone rock outcroppings of western Texas and New Mexico favored by L. alterna, the Gray-Banded Kingsnake.

Prey:
In the wild they are known to prey primarily on lizards, but have also been known to take other snakes, frogs, and various rodents.In captivity these animals fair very well on a diet of lab. raised mice. Juveniles sometime require new born pink mice scented with lizards. Adults seem to fair better on several small food items (Hoppers) rather than one large food animal. In the wild they feed on a collage of lizards and small rodents as available.

Behavior:
This is a generally non-aggressive species that does well in captivity. It is somewhat secretive and requires a hiding box at all times. It has been our experience that certain strains of this species more readily feed on mice as juveniles than others. It should be noted this can't be proven scientifically yet, but is just our general observation and experience.

Breeding:
Breeding in captivity is achieved in the same manner as with all colubrids using the following as a guideline. Towards the end of October cease feeding totally, allowing at least 2 -3 weeks at normal temperature for clearing of the gut. Then gradually reduce the ambient tempeture inside the cage to the lower 50's and maintain for a period of 3 months. Be sure and provide clean water and systematically check animals for general condition and welfare during this period. There is a school of thought that embraces the belief that the males of this species require lower temperatures to produce large quantities of viable sperm. It has been my experience that while certain individual snakes may indeed be helped by this, the norm is that it is NOT required as in some other species. After brumation and the animals are brought back up to optimum temperature of 78 - 84 degrees, feeding should resume for approx. three weeks and the pair should be placed together under supervision for short periods of time until copulation can be confirmed. An egg laying chamber partially filled with damp vermiculite or sphagnum moss is helpful. Eggs should be removed immediately after laying and placed in damp vermiculite for the incubation period of 59 - 68 days at temperatures of 80 - 83 degrees

NOTE : This species along with L. mexicana mexicana, L. mexicana greeri, an L.alterna are in question as to their validity and until this can be cleared up from the taxonomic perspective there will continue to be some confusion regarding the actual classification of these animals. Stay Tuned !!

Literature Cited:

Stebbins, Robert C. 1985 2nd edition
Field Guide To Western Reptiles and Amphibians

Cherry, John W. Field & Breeding Notes


Gallery Photo by Brian Gough
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Gallery Photo by John Cherry
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Gallery Photo by John Cherry
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Gallery Photo by John Cherry
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Recent Mexicana Kingsnakes Forum Posts
• Hide size, posted by TacitGrunt
• Striped ruthven kings, posted by presentdaydino
• going wild, posted by stumble
• hypo-e mex mex, posted by sballard
• Thayers or Greers, posted by steeve111
• Email Change - Mike Bodner, posted by pikiemikie
• king snake question, posted by crmargolis
• "White" Thayeri ??, posted by ssshane
• Ruthveni, posted by HappyHeathen
• Greeri Brumation, posted by middlefork
• Breeding ages?, posted by Norcal_Jim
• Not so variable variable king snakes., posted by chenderson421
• melanistic thayeri, posted by RinL
• Greeri Adult Size, posted by middlefork
• Greeri Adult Size, posted by middlefork

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