last changes: Sunday, January 06, 2008

Keeping of the Prärie King Snake

Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster

 Weibchen zwei Jahre


Weibchen  drei Jahre

Keeping and behavior

This pretty snake prefers temperatures between 25 and 28 °C. I keep my animals as a pair without problems. The snakes are durinal and often seen in activity. My animals can be taken out of the terraium and are hand tame. For the adults a medium sized enclosure is great enough, the young snakes live in small terraria or little boxes. The ground gravel is pressed straw (Catsan). Other gravels from the pet supply are some alternatives. In the terrarium of the adult animals there are no twigs any more, those one only climb seldom. On the ground there are some corc barks for hidingplaces. The small waterbowl made of tone never was used to take a bath. The terrarium is dry and only before sheding I spray sometimes a little water. My calligaster grow up one by one and put together in breeding age. Never they showed any tendence of canibalism.


One time a week my adult calligaster got 1-2 smaller mice for food. Its the same to the snakes wether the food is thawned or alife. Irregulary I put a drop of multivitamin on the belly of the mice. The snakes have no problem with the taste of the vitamins and are in best conditions. In habitat they eat amphibians, reptiles, birds and insects, too.


 You should give them a hibernation of 2-3 month at 5-15°C. Too, for the fathering ability it is helpful.


 In spring I encrease the light and heat slowly to the normal times. I feed regulary and after the first shed of the female the mating begins. After the matings male and female eat regulary and the female becomes slowly thicker. Aprox 2 month after the mating the female lays at a suitable place 6-17 eggs. My clutches were 10 eggs in 2003 and 13 eggs in 2004, 2005 and 2006, but all were infertil. Egglaying and breeding conditions are the same as on the page -my Pituophis- described. Aprox. 60-65 days after egglaying the hatchlings will slit up their eggs.

Young snakes

 My small amel. calligaster grew up in small terrariums one by one. The hatchlings of amel. calligaster are av. 20 cm in lenght and in opposite to the adults these have beautiful red saddle spots. In the second year of growth the red markings slowly wash out to a pale pink. The first food were thawned nestyoung mice and my snakes ate them without any problems. But there are young calligaster wich don’t want to eat mice. Those one must be manipulate with the „typical Lampropeltis feeding tricks“. The further rearing were without problems, I gave all 3-5 days 1-2 fitting mice.

Maturity, Lifespan

 Depending on the amount of food and the qualities of the animals the maturity is in the 2. or 3. year. Those snakes live normaly av. 12-15 years.

My snakes

In my terrarium lived from 1998 to 2006 a pair from different bloodlines. But all laid eggs were infertil - and so I sold the pair in 2006.

Recommended Literature

(Only exaples, there is a lot of literature)

Kingsnakes and Milksnakes from the Bede-Verlag   

Königsnattern from Thissen/Hansen from the Verlag Terraristik aktuell (in German)

All 2 books I can commend without exeption.

A lot of habitat information you can get in the field guides,too, wich are named in the page -Books- in the main navigation

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