Lampropeltis zonata

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Scientific name Lampropeltis zonata
English name California Mountain Kingsnake
Distribution The pink spots with dots indicate the distribution area of L. zonata.

The blue spots with triangles indicate the range of L. multifasciata. The map comes from the MYERS, E.A article below; etc.

Habitat Mixed forests (oak/pine), coniferous forests, riparian forests, dense shrubs with thorny bushes, sage shrub along the coast, wooded coastal strips with rock formations, rocky slopes.
Details In the past this species had a number of subspecies:

Lampropeltis zonata multicincta

Lampropeltis zonata multifasciata

Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra

Lampropeltis zonata zonata

Lampropeltis zonata pulchra

Lampropeltis zonata agalma

Lampropeltis zonata herrerae

In 2013 it was established that this snake consists of two separate species (without subspecies), namely L. zonata and L. multifasciata.

See the research below.

MYERS, E. A.; J. A. RODRÍGUEZ-ROBLES, D. F. DENARDO, R. E. STAUB, A. STROPOLI, S. RUANE and F. T. BURBRINK 2013. Multilocus phylogeographic assessment of the California Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata) suggests alternative patterns of diversification for the California Floristic Province. Molecular Ecology, doi: 10.1111/mec.12478

The data below are the same as those of Lampropeltis multifasciata. These data largely come from the website


The adult length is between 51 and 90 cm, with a maximum of up to about 135 cm.
The length of newborn specimen is between 18 and 28 cm.

This species leads a rather hidden life, but is, in suitable habitats, absolutely not rare.  During the day they are occasionally found above ground but stays this part of the day mainly under stumps or other things under which they can hide.

Rock crevices are also a frequently used hiding place. If they are active during the day, this is usually in shady places. They are also active at high altitudes (typical habitat for this species) during the day when night temperatures are low.

The height of the ambient temperature determines whether they are dusk-, evening-, night- or day active. Their activity is largest at ambient temperatures between 13 and 29 degrees C. Brumation usually starts in November and ends in February, March or April. This depends on the location and the weather conditions.

A few weeks after the end of the brumation, the copulations take place. The eggs are laid in June/July and hatch after 50 and 65 days.

The food in the wild consists of, among others, small mammals, nestlings, bird eggs, lizards, amphibians and occasionally snakes (also specimen of their own kind (cannibalism).

In the terrarium, they do fine on a diet of mice. Newborn specimen often have problems with mice, but when these are scented with the smell of a lizard, it usually works. If they really do not want to take anything, then let the snakes sleep for a few months at about 13 degrees C. and then try to feed them with small mice that smell like lizard. That almost always works.