King snakes are a very popular choice as a pet for their beautiful colourations, calm and tolerant behaviour and resilient, hardy nature appealing to both the beginner and the experienced herpetoculturist. Widely available around the world through your local pet shop, large breeding programmes have produced multitudes of colour and pattern morphs so there should never be a reason to buy a wild-caught specimen.
 Choosing a Kingsnake
- Firm rounded body.
- Clear eyes (may be a little cloudy if about to shed). There should be no sign of discharge.
- No evidence of mites - check especially around the head and eyes, check for faint specks on body and check your hands after handling the snake
- The snake should not have to open its mouth to breathe and should not appear as if it is gasping for breath.
- The inside of the mouth should be a uniform pink - reddened areas or cheesy looking matter may indicate mouth rot.
- Shiny smooth skin with no scabs or sores.
- Clean vent with no swelling in area
- Should move smoothly with no tremors
If you are unsure about the health of a snake, you can ask the vendor for a demonstration feeding, usually on pre-killed mice. If your new snake appears distressed or overly active, be patient but not ignorant, snakes will be agitated until they settle in to their new environments but if the problem persists it may be necessary to seek veterinary advice.
Healthy adult King snakes range in size from three to seven feet depending on the individual sub-species. There are many morphs all varying in colourations and patterns, however, most follow their most famous attribitute of mimicing the much more dangerous Coral snake. Both snakes have red, black and yellow bands of colour, however, the King snake has its black bands touching the red bands whereas the coral snake has the yellow bands touching the red. King snakes have been known to live upto 25 years of age in captivity.