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Old 12-16-16, 06:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Desert king snake

Picked up this little thing today. I didn't have any more small water dishes so had to make it work and made him a temporary wood and rock hiding spot. I should have another 3x6" natural stone tile around here somewhere. I'll get a 10g setup for him soon. Any species specific info appreciated.



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Old 12-16-16, 06:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Desert king snake

Nice... I just love black and yellow on a snake...
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Old 12-16-16, 07:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Desert king snake

Nice looking king you got there. Congrats.
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Old 12-17-16, 01:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Desert king snake

Would you go somewhat tall for a desert king? I generally use 20 longs but I have a 20 tall and I have a 55 currently not going to be filled by anything if it gets there. Or stick with lower and flat like the 30 or 40 breeders? Amount of water? Most sites go with the common name's interpretation but some sites contest that without listing a humidity or changes to be made versus an arid setup. kingsnake.com - The Kingsnake and Milk Snake Page - Desert Kingsnake
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Old 12-17-16, 09:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Desert king snake

I'm pretty sure their care requirements are pretty similar to other kings. I'd stick with more floor space. Just a regular bowl of water that he can soak in if needed. Not sure where you live, but the it should do fine with the humidity in the room. I don't think you'd need to make it less humid.
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Old 12-17-16, 09:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Desert king snake

Congrats on the handsome new addition. Kings don't really need a lot of vertical or floor space IMO. I have my pair in a split AP-T8 (4x2x1) and they have plenty of room. They're both about 4.5 ft. I did add the shelf which they do use. My Cal King has a water bowl large enough to soak in but he never does. My MBK has a smaller water bowl. I think you'll be fine with either.
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Old 12-17-16, 10:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Desert king snake

*Need* I could stick him in a basic 20gallon with a water dish and a hide and be done. It's what he could do in a more complex setup.
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Old 12-17-16, 11:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Desert king snake

There's definitely nothing wrong with more complex setups but I think it's more for the keepers enjoyment than the snake's benefit. My kings aren't very active and spend the majority of their time hiding so I didn't invest in the extra enclosure space.

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Old 12-17-16, 12:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Desert king snake

Reason why my questions beyond basic care usually go to the bioactive group
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Old 12-18-16, 02:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Desert king snake

Actually he's been my most active new snake so far. Up everything and I added some marble tile caves until I get some 10g lids shipped to me so I can do a full enclosure.
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Old 12-19-16, 02:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Desert king snake

Cool addition! I like the zig zag areas of his pattern, really cool to look at. As far as species specific information, they're really similar to other kingsnakes in regards to keeping, so what do you seek specifically? They do well in low, moderate, or moderate high humidity and water should be in there at all times for them to drink. As far as bioactive...I've only done it with geckos, and as far as tank sizes, I don't use tanks of any kind for snakes. I can tell you that in a more complex setup he would have lots more to poop on...I'm being lots of help here, aren't I?
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Old 12-19-16, 06:49 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Desert king snake

Everyone always misses the fact that the point of bio-active is that it doesn't matter where they poop because YOU DON'T CLEAN UP THE POOP. You don't clean anything except maybe a water dish and until things get established particularly large poop might be noticeable to scoop out but eventually it will be gone before you look in the tank next. That's why you can put all sorts of things in there and not spend all your time cleaning. The critters eat the poop and natural microbes break it down into basically soil. Technically your tank would become an increasingly deep, increasingly fertile substrate combination but they poop so little compared to the size of container needed to maintain the system that it doesn't seem to be noticeable. Some do see benefit with plants that are not contained separately from the main substrate. People keeping constant deep leaf litter might notice a change. It's a chunk of an ecosystem to maintain itself. Which is why many like to research the ecosystem the specific snake species (not just group) comes from and replicate it or a similar one depending how difficult it is. I'm not sure I can make desert king snake brushland. I debated with some people what the substrate of "brushland" next to water in an otherwise arid environment would consist of. Some have even done tanks with different soil on different ends to match the change you would see around a structure like water.

I've been doing the same thing with fish tanks since I was in highschool so for more than a decade. I don't do maintenance on my fish tanks. I use a fertile substrate, layer the plants in correctly, add the right water movement, light it up "like the vegas strip" according to the fish store employees that sell things to me, and just feed the fish and top off evaporated water. Fish food turns to poop which gets broken down by inverts first, and then by bacteria, and then used by the plants so that the nitrates never build in the water while the soil is stirred by burrowing snails so anaerobic pockets don't develop toxic gases. Trim plants as necessary to keep viewing fish and from growing into your lights and that's the way you are removing what you put in with the fish food.

Same concept. More complicated research and setup but no removal of waste, substrate/bedding, or cleaning.
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Old 12-19-16, 07:24 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Desert king snake

I'm not debating anything myself because I keep bioactive myself and no I didn't overlook that bioactives have a clean up crew...nor did I say anything about "cleaning up"...but thanks for offering the explanation for those who don't know...but saying all that, i'll slightly disagree. If they (read "medium sized snake" in this example) take a huge messy crap on a cage furnishing you should probably try to clean it a little bit unless you're going to be using a clean up crew on roids or you enjoy seeing poop smears on everything from the snake dragging poops across things until the clean up crew can get to it. Bioactive eliminates a lot of cleaning, but not all of it. Wanna test that? Give him poultry and something to climb on near the glass...poop smears for days haha. Your ideas are nice and it sounds like you're not new to it...so what questions do you expect to have answered? I literally answered your "what could he do in a more complex setup" quite nicely. He won't do backflips or anything...just snake stuff like pooping on everything...

Last edited by Andy_G; 12-19-16 at 07:38 PM..
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Old 12-20-16, 03:21 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Desert king snake

I don't know if he climbs. Some snakes climb a lot. My rosy boa doesn't get more than 6" off the ground if she can help it and neither do the others. Bullsnakes are heavy and I know you mostly find them on the ground. Dekayi are shy species who only can defend themselves by hiding so they stay low and need lots of hiding material like leaf litter through the whole tank. Some burrow. My bullsnake disappeared into the soil within seconds of being put in the tank until he found the rock pile and my dekayi digs for food. The bullsnake quit digging when he found suitable places on the rock pile so he prefers to find rock holes rather than burrow if given the choice. Dekayi like rock crevices so I sandwiched pebbles between 2 travertine stone tiles for a narrow hiding place with little gaps for escape while my rosy boa has 6" square houses just lacking a floor and front. My dekayi and bullsnake have a heavy soil mixture with a lot of native soil, some compost, and a little sand to keep it from compacting. Especially when wet or if I put worms in I found it can get thick gooey spots that are rich soil but hold too much moisture. Using standard desert mixes quoted for low humidity tanks for the rosy I created a 66% sand substrate with most of the rest palm compost and a little crushed coral for structure without much of any of the heavy soil from my local area or clay additives. The rosy tank is mostly open aside from the 2 hides and a water dish but I am debating an aloe plant, the bull snake tank is mostly rock with some large mostly horizontal logs, the dekayi tank is mostly dirt and leaves with one thin branch that goes to the top....

Those snakes I am familiar with or they are simple to figure out. I have no freaking clue what a king snake is besides that colorful thing that eats other snakes. I haven't seen their behavior. I haven't looked for them in my local area and this isn't a local species anyway. I've already changed the design of it's temporary hide twice as I observe it's behavior. I just don't know what it will do with various materials and designs.

I am figuring out how it will react with choices to get the most natural behaviors displayed even if most of those behaviors are finding somewhere to sit for the day. If it will use height, if it will climb sticks, if it will burrow, what substrate it comes from, how much water is appropriate if it is mentioned to be more aquatic than related species and it's name suggests..... When it gets big enough does the long, narrow, somewhat tall design of a 55 work better than a wide, short 40 breeder or maybe it's worth swapping the 30 long occupants to another tank to use that... From what I've gathered for right now I am diluting my heavy mix with 1 part sand to 2 parts of the soil mix so it's closer to 40-50% sand instead of the 66% of the desert tank for upgrading to a 10 or 20g tank until it is bigger and then I was entertaining the idea with someone of making a soil blend from one end of the tank to the other if using a longer tank to replicate change as you near water. Probably not worth the attempt but interesting to think about the logistics. I am thinking of a stone hiding place in between the sizes I have made with natural stone tiles. I have a lot of big scoured driftwood chunks I collected to try out using but they aren't very branching and quite smooth so how well they can be climbed when not kept at a shallow angle is questionable.

Basically what does a desert king snake do when it is not sitting there in a tank or bin being given all the food it needs and what structure does it have to deal with in it's environment that it adapted to?
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Old 12-20-16, 05:13 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Desert king snake

Ah. Well, they love to burrow, they will at least occasionally climb but not as much as a corn for example, and as far as adaptation is concerned...what is it within their natural environment that allows them to blend in and be camouflaged so they aren't consumed? Aside from resistance to certain venoms and ability to go without water for a while if they have to, i'm not sure what else I have to add that is subspecies specific here.
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