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San Bernadino Mountain Kingsnake
Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra

Size:
  • Hatchling: 8-11 in.
  • Adult: 26 - 45in.(normal)

Scalation:
  • Dorsal: 21 rows
  • Ventral: 200 - 221
  • Sub caudal: 48 - 60
  • Infra labial:9
  • Supra labial: 7
  • Anal Plate: Single


San Jacinto Mountains, Ca.
Photo courtesy Kirk Setzer

Written by Paul Lynum
Coloration:
Head:
Generally all black. Very rarely some specimens might have little dots of white on the snout.

Dorsal:
Body triads range 32-48 with an average of 39. Parvirubra color is basically a medium orange to a bright orange. Some have a reddish orange. Most snakes have at least 60% black crossovers. However about 40% of the specimens from the San Jacinto Mountains have less than 20% black crossovers. The white is generally very clean and bright. Black tipping in the white is common however.

Ventral:
Most triads do go completely around the body. However in a good percentage of individuals, black and white will dominate. "Checkerboarding" is also very common.

Range:
The San Jacinto, Santa Rosa, San Bernardino, and San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California. Snakes in the Tehachapi Mountains may be lntergrades of The San Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake(L.z.parvirubra) and Sierra Mountain Kingsnake(L.z.multicincta).

Habitat:
Found at elevations of 3000-8000 feet, being most commonly found at the 6000 foot level. A snake of the transition zone up in to pine forest. Common in certain areas of chaparral but hiking through the thick brush makes it extremely difficult to find. You spend more time getting stuck and lost than finding rocks to look under.

Prey:
In the wild they live on a diet of skihks and fench lizards. Captive specimens thrive on small mice and lare hoppers. Babies will take pinky mice. If they will not take a pinky, try lizard scented pinkies. After a little time and patience they usually turn on to rodents.

Behavior:
Found throughout its range in granite boulder rock outcropings. Emerges from hibernation in the middle to the end of March. It spends the first couple of months under granite flakes. Early May the snakes start to move outside of their rock homes but do not venture very far. Commonly found in the summer on roads. I once found four mountain kingsnakes on the road in a 30 minute period. Snakes retreat under ground sometime in October before the first major cold.

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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