Of the snakes that are common in Northern California, the California Kingsnake certainly isn’t the most dangerous. That award probably goes to the rattlesnake.
However, it’s still important that you know how to recognize the Kingsnake and know a bit about its habits.
While you don’t want to mistake the California Kingsnake for something deadly, you also should not attempt removal of this slithering creature without the help of a wildlife removal professional.
Read on to learn more about Calfornia Kingsnakes!
What Do California Kingsnakes Look Like?
While you’ll find domestic Kingsnakes in a variety of colors, the wild Kingsnake is almost always black or brown with white or yellow markings. Adult male Kingsnakes usually grow up to four feet long.
They are typically either banded or striped. A banded Kingsnake will have rings around the circumference of its body that are lighter than the rest of its body. A striped Kingsnake will display a stripe down its dorsal surface that is lighter than the rest of its body.
At times, you may notice that their eyes look blue. Snakes have a layer of skin that covers their eyes and this is the last part to loosen during the shedding process. Note that this is a period in which the California Kingsnake is especially vulnerable, as it can’t see as well as normal!
What Are Their Habits?
California Kingsnakes are diurnal, which means they are active during the day–unless it’s really hot, in which case they may shift into a nocturnal phase. They tend to hang out in areas that have a lot of brush, leaf litter, or plant overhang.
California Kingsnakes are intense hunters. They detect their food, ranging from rodents to birds to lizards, through scent and kill them with constriction. Kingsnakes can even hunt and kill other snakes, including those that are much more dangerous than them, which is part of why we prefer to keep these guys around!
Can They Hurt Me?
For the most part, a California Kingsnake is not going to hurt you. First of all, they are nonvenomous. That means that even if you got bitten by one, it would leave nothing more than the bitemark, itself.
Second of all, they’re fairly docile snakes. For the most part, they won’t mind sharing space with humans, as long as those humans don’t disturb or corner them. These snakes are an important part of the ecosystem so it’s important that we learn the proper ways to coexist with them.
The California Kingsnake will let you know if you’ve made it feel threatened. An intimidated Kingsnake emits an unpleasant-smelling musk while shaking their tails. The tail-shaking is actually an attempt to trick you into thinking it is its more dangerous cousin, the rattlesnake!
How Do I Get a California Kingsnake Off My Property?
Although the California Kingsnake is nonvenomous, only professionals should handle kingsnake removal. Keep in mind that wildlife relocation is illegal in California, as is keeping wild animals for pets. A professional will use deterrence and exclusion methods to coax the snake away from your property and seal up any entry points to keep them from coming back.
If you have a Sacramento snake problem, contact us today and we’ll take care of it.