Are Kingsnakes Venomous?

Kingsnakes are not venomous. They are one of the 45 subspecies of colubrid, a new-world non-venomous family of snakes.

Are Kingsnakes Venomous

There is a myth surrounding Kingsnakes because of their diet. There are people who think that they have venom because they eat venomous snakes. Kingsnakes are what one would call ophiophagous in diet—their main food source is other snakes.

Disclaimer: This is information for entertainment and educational purposes only. Do not approach a wild animal and keep your distance. Only professionals should handle wild animals. Seek professional help immediately if you have been bitten or otherwise harmedConsult your local wildlife authority for the right advice for your situation and locality.

Can a King Snake Venom Kill a Person?

A king snake cannot kill a person with venom, or by constriction, since it is not venomous and it is not big enough to constrict a human being, however even a non-venomous snake bite can become infected which may lead to serious illness if left untreated.

Reptilians like snakes, crocodiles, and lizards can carry bacteria, parasites, worms, and many other things. Kingsnakes are no exception to this. 

Read More: 12 Least Venomous Snakes in the World

Kingsnakes bite. And when they do, the pathogens in their mouth can transfer to the human being. It is this pathogen that is going to cause a serious illness, which may lead to death. 

How Kingsnakes Control Other Venomous Snakes

Some people believe Kingsnakes are good to have around because they eat other potential pests or dangerous animals. A non-venomous colubrid like the king snake can eat venomous snakes, rats, lizards, and many other pests in an area.

Kingsnakes eat a wide variety of animals. They will even eat a rattlesnake! However, they may not win a fight against larger rodents like squirrels.  

Since there are many species of Kingsnakes, one must choose a specific breed that fits the environment. Kingsnakes, like many snakes, do not like the cold or extremely hot temperatures. 

Kingsnakes are generalists in terms of habitat. They live in many types of terrain, and they are often found in areas where there is water. They make homes under rocks, in bushes, and woodlands.

Some people try to use the king snake to reduce the population of rats, however it’s a better idea to hire a pest control expert and avoid dealing with potentially dangerous snakes. For example, Kingsnakes are sometimes employed by farmers who are suffering through some kind of pestilence. 

Read More: King Snake Diet Explained

Can a King Snake Kill Venomous Snakes?

King snakes have been known to kill rattlesnakes. In a Discovery Channel Documentary called Speed of Life, the producers captured how a king snake attacks a rattlesnake.

Rattlesnakes have fangs long enough to take out a king snake. They can strike with enough force to kill a king snake. However, their venom has no effect. Kingsnakes have complex proteins that protect them from the toxicity of a rattlesnake’s venom.

The king snake has a powerful approach to prevent a bite from the rattlesnake. It has excellent reflexes, and it targets the jaws of its prey. It moves so fast that the victim will not see it coming.

Related Article: What Do King Snakes Eat?

How Big Can a King Snake Get?

Kingsnakes can grow up to 60 inches or five feet. This length is commonly observed in the black king snake, or the Lampropeltis nigra or Lampropeltis getula nigra

Other species are smaller. For example, the California kingsnake typically only grows up to four feet. This species of Kingsnake has bright white markings. These are white bands on their black scales. Some have longitudinal stripes.  

Are King Snakes Safe To Keep as Pets?

Kingsnakes can make good pets since they are non-venomous, but they are not recommended for inexperienced snake owners. Kingsnakes can be kept on a diet of mice, and require a large tank of at least 20 gallons. Some species of kingsnake require very specific habitats such as wood chips or moss.

For one, the terrarium must at least be 20 gallons. The habitat must have twigs and hiding places. The space must also have wood shavings and chips. Some species like the Florida Kingsnakes need some kind of moss. 

When taking care of a snake or any reptile, the owner must replicate its natural environment. Kingsnakes love to live in branches, and they also need the right temperature to thrive. 

The ideal temperature is between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts recommend radiant heat. Another recommendation is to use heat underneath the tank on one side. Kingsnakes need at least 8 hours of daylight. 

For food, they can live on mice. Snake pet owners can buy these things from various sources and pet shops. Frozen mice are best, so the snake does not get hurt trying to attack the live prey.

Related: Are Baby Snakes More Venomous than Adult Snakes?


Kingsnakes are not venomous. They are usually not considered a threat to humans, however as with all snakes must be treated with respect and care. They are sometimes helpful for humans in areas where there are many other venomous snakes. They can drastically reduce the population of dangerous snakes in an area since they feed on other snake species.

Because Kingsnakes are less dangerous than some other snakes, they are also a great option as pets for experienced owners.

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