How Many Times a Year do King Snakes Lay Eggs?

Many snakes lay eggs but not every snake is going to be the same as the King cobra. Determining the best environments for those snakes to lay their eggs is paramount in breeding snakes properly. Snake breeding is a unique niche in our world, and not many people know how to do it.

How many times a year do king snakes lay eggs? King snakes lay eggs about mid-summer once a year. The eggs hatch in late summer or early fall. They can reproduce every year after they have reached their sexual maturity, usually at 2 – 3 years of age. 

If you’re interested in breeding, I have a few tips you might want to know before you get started, especially for king cobras.

King Snake Reproduction

The mating time depends on the climate. In warmer climates, king snakes will mate earlier in the spring, while those in colder climates will wait until later in the summer. The mating season has a cut off date, though. It generally starts in March and goes until August.

Males will look for females through a chemical scent. Like many animals, disputes over the who gets the female are solved through wrestling matches between the competing males. The one who wins the battle gets to mate with the female.

King snakes will become sexually mature between 2 and 4 years of age. They can live upwards of 20 to 30 years in captivity. Their lifespan in the wild is not known but is estimated to be similar to those in captivity.

Laying Eggs

Female king snakes lay clutches anywhere from 3 to 24 eggs in one breeding session. She can carry multiple clutches at a time. The female will lay the eggs in things like debris or a rotting log. Someplace secluded works great in keeping the eggs safe from potential predators.

Strangely enough, the mothers will then leave their eggs. The babies will hatch on their own later in about 2 to 3 months. According to a man named Savitzky, a writer for the acclaimed website Live Science, king snakes are oviparous, which means that the eggs spend very little to no time incubating inside the mother.

The hatchlings are completely independent from the time that they hatch. They are generally up to about a foot long at this point.

Inbreeding

Inbreeding is something that never sounds like a good idea. Probably because as far as humans go, it’s a no-no. With king snakes or just reptiles in general, there is no defined answer. Inbreeding is actually common in herpetoculture.

When done and it works out, it is called “line breeding.” If it doesn’t work, snake breeders call it “inbreeding syndrome”. It is common for wild snakes to inbreed because wild snake don’t venture out too far from home. They return to the same area to breed every spring.

In fact, many people breed brother and sister king snakes. Since it has not proven to be a problem, people will continue to do it.

Sometimes there can be genetic mutations, like an albino snake for example, but not always. In the end, if you have unrelated snakes, that is the best bet you have, but it is not the end of your snake breeding days if you don’t have unrelated snakes.

Breeding Group Ideas

According to reptilemagazine.com, it is recommended that you purchase 2 male king snakes and four female king snakes. Try to have them unrelated, if possible, unless you want to do some crazy intense genetic isolation or something. I don’t recommend this if it is your first time around the block.

The point of having this ratio of snakes is that there will be 2 groups of trios. It just keeps the breeding process running smoothly in case one of your snakes die or is less of a genetic gold mine.

You should also learn how to check for what sex they are. If you are buying king snakes, have the person or vendor you are buying them from show you how to check for the snake’s gender.

Brumation

You have probably never heard of this word. That’s okay because I had to find out for myself. Brumation is the cooling period during the cycle of the year in order for breeding to be successful. This part is crucial. Without it, you’re not going to have any offspring for your snakes.

There is a pretty intense list of things to do, so buckle up.

According to Tim’s Reptile’s website, you want to start increasing how much you feed your snake in late April, so your king snake has extra fat reserves. It will need these during brumation.

In May, you want to keep your snakes warm with some heaters and stop feeding them for around 2-3 weeks. This allows the snakes to empty their digestive tracts.

You want to make sure that nothing gets left in their stomach. If anything does, it will rot in their stomach and can lead to a deadly infection.

In June, you’re going to have to drop the temperature down to 10-15 degrees Celsius for the next 2 to 3 months. Then in September, bring the heat slowly back up to the snake’s usual preferred temperatures. Do not heat up your king snakes too quickly, as this can affect your male king snake’s fertility. Nailing this process will lead to successful breeding.

What are the different Sub-Species of King Snakes?

King snakes are split into 8 main sub-species:

  • Gray-banded king snake
  • Prairie king snake
  • Common king snake
  • Mexican gray-banded king snake
  • Sonoran mountain king snake
  • Ruthven’s king snake
  • California mountain king snake
  • Milk snake

You may wonder why milk snakes are on this list since they don’t have the word “king” in their name. Despite this, milk snakes are indeed king snakes. They are the only main sub-species of king snake without “king snake” in their name.

King snakes really are “king.” Okay, all joking aside, they really are, because they have the biggest natural geographical range of any land snake (most of the American continent). They cover vast amounts of environments, such as jungles, deserts, and rural areas-you name it, they’re usually there!

They are called “king snakes” because they eat other snakes, even rattlesnakes! They feast on basically any animal smaller than them. Their sizes can range from 18 inches to around 8 feet, so king snakes have lots of choices for meals. Because they have such a wide feeding range, king snakes rein over most other animals.

Related Questions

How often to king snakes shed? The amount they shed varies but you can expect them to shed once every 2 months. In order to grow, they need to shed. The new skin will be bigger.

How long does it take for king snake eggs to hatch? The egg should hatch in about 55 to 75 days after being laid. If some have slit and the others haven’t after a few days, consider slitting them yourself.

How big do king snakes get? Adult-sized king snakes usually reach about 3 to 4 feet, although factors such as genetics, diet, and environment play into how long these snakes can grow.

Morgan Rial

Hello! I am Morgan Rial. I am a student at BYU-Idaho. My passion is people. I really thrive off of studying new things. I was a gamer in my younger days. It is more of a past time now. I am a huge fan of the Legend of Zelda series. I recently grew a love for biking. I really enjoy nature. I will always find new places to visit. Life is meant to be enjoyed and lived.

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