Mexican Black Kingsnakes
(Lampropeltis getula nigrita)
Medium sized, active, strong, highly iridescent snakes suitable for all keepers looking to join the dark side of lampropeltis.
Mexican black kings (MBK) typically grow between 3.5 and 5 feet, so an enclosure footprint of 4 feet by 2 feet is more than adequate to keep them happy and healthy. Large Exoterra or 40-gallon breeder aquariums will work just fine for adults. Hides in both cooler areas and warmer areas of the enclosure prove beneficial for thermoregulation and digestion without compromising their sense of security.
Found from the Sinaloa desert through the Mojave, into the Sonora and all the way into southern Arizona. These beautiful kings prefer a warm and dry climate. We find 78°F at night a sufficient drop however daytime highs need not exceed 90°F. Providing a thermal gradient across the enclosure spanning this range will mean your snake will always find the spot that allows it to thermoregulate properly.
Basking Spot Temperature: 87°F-90°F
Warm Side Ambient Temperature: 85°F-88°F
Cool Side Ambient Temperature: 78°F-85°F
Optional Night-time Ambient Drop: 78°F-82°F
Due to the naturally arid/ desert environments where MBK are found in the southwest USA and northern Mexico, relative humidity should be 40 to 55 %. They make hardy captives and will tolerate humidity outside these parameters; however, sub optimal humidity should not be allowed to continue for prolong periods of time. Substrates such as coconut fiber, aspen chips, and Reptibark all lend themselves nicely to MBK enclosures.
This is where things get interesting! These snakes, like California kings and Florida Kings have absolutely voracious appetites. They are often so ambitious they will almost launch themselves out of a front opening enclosure at feeding time. Although in the wild they would feed mainly on snakes and lizards, they will do perfectly fine on a diet of rodents in captivity; however, close observation of their body appearance and size over time should be noted as they can easily become obese. Obesity in MBK can significantly reduce the 15 to 20 year lifespan of these beautifully alluring snakes.