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Coastal Mountain Kingsnake
Lampropeltis zonata multifasciata

Size:
  • Hatchling: 8 - 11 in.
  • Adult: 24 - 36 in..(normal)

Scalation:
  • Dorsal: 23 rows
  • Ventral: 205 - 220
  • Sub caudal: 52 - 62
  • Infra labial:9
  • Supra labial: 7
  • Anal Plate: Single

click to enlarge
Santa Cruz County, Ca.
Photo courtesy Kirk Setzer
Written by Paul Lynum
Coloration:
Head:
Like the Baja California Mountain Kingsnake, The Coast sub-species has alot of red on the head. Some specimens though only have a little amount of speckling. White is mixed in as well.

Dorsal:
Often referred by the herp community as the most striking out of all thezonatas. Most snakes have very little to no black crossovers. The color isquite variable though. From the southern and central part of their range, they tend to have a light orange. In the northern part of their range I have seen three colors. 1 -bright reddish-orange. 2-bright orange. 3-faded out orange as seen in the Saint Helena Mountain Kingsnake.

Ventral:
Triads usually go completely around. Very little to no markings between each triad.

Range:
Found in the Santa Cruz, Santa Ynez Mountains, and the Santa Lucia Range in central California. Other populations of this snake occur in other small mountains outside these bigger ranges.

Habitat:
In the Santa Ynez Mountains near Santa Barbara this snake is mainly found in canyon bottoms and chaparral. Snakes have been found on U.C. Santa Barbara Campus and on the beach. In the Santa Lucia Range(Cambria up to near Big Sur) they have been found in Coastal redwood and chaparral. In the Santa Cruz Mountains South of San Francisco this snake inhabits in the more open canvas sun lit spots of coastal redwood. Found also in chaparral and canyon bottoms.

Prey:
As well as other other sub-species of zonata these snake are also lizard eaters. Very rarely a rodent of some sort is eaten in the wild. Mountain kingsnakes are not a very big snake and to find a mouse in the wild small enough is hard to come by. In captivity though adults feed readily on big crew-cuts and freshly weaned. Babies may be difficult at first. Try the scenting a lizard to a pinky method and after time the snake should adapt. If the snake appears to be losing weight, try the lizard directly to the snake. If possible, cool the snake down to 55 F for a two month period. After wake up, repeat the lizard to the pinky method again. This should work.

Behavior:
Also another very secretive mountain kingsnake. Most specimens are found crawling in the open. Canyons with streams are preferred. Their striking colors blend in very well with their surroundings and can be easily missed if the snake is laying still. During warm spring days they take refuge in rotted logs and under sandstone rocks. In the mid summer theybecome nocturnal and can be occasionally seen crossing black-topped roads.

Breeding:
In the wild breeding occurs from the end of April till the middle of June. Eggs are laid sometime in July and August hatching in September and October. In captivity I have had my success by the doing the following. In the beginning of October shutting of all food. I keep the temperature about 82 F. Keeping them warm will help the digestive track clean out. About the first or second week in November I drop the temperature 5 degrees everyday until 50 F is reached. During this period the snakes will be kept in complete darkness. February 15 and the lights come back on and the temperature is brought up 5 degrees a day till 75 F is met. The males are fed one mouse a week and depending on size of the females, feed 2-3 mice a week. I put the female in with the male at the end of March. The females usually show signs of eggs a few weeks later. I put in a nest box after a pre-egg laying shed. After a clutch of 3-9 eggs(5 average) have been dropped, put them in a plastic shoebox with moist vermiculite. Eggs should be kept at about 80-85 F. Hatching takes about 60-80 days. When the female has finished laying her eggs, feed her 4-6 mice a week until she is back to her normal self. Do not get her to obese.

Literature Cited:
Lynum, Paul J. Unpublished natural history notes on Lampropeltis zonata

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Recent Mountain Kingsnakes Forum Posts
• Ring counts for pyros, posted by emoryi
• Breeding size for Arizona Mountain Kings, posted by 4dnospolk
• incubation time approx., posted by kcaj
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• 2014 pyro, posted by markg
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• hi, posted by batgirl25
• Knob hatchlings ( L P Chihuahua), posted by mingdurga
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• Coast Zonata 2014, posted by zach_mexmilk
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