What Do Kingsnakes Eat?

What Do Kingsnakes Eat
Photo by Thomas Evans

The Kingsnake belongs to the Lampropeltis genus, which consists of nonvenomous snakes with colorful patterns and diamond-shaped heads.

There are at least 26 Kingsnakes in the United States and Canada, and they come in many different colors and sizes, ranging from 1 foot to 6 feet long. 

But what do Kingsnakes eat? What are their favorite foods? How can you tell if your pet snake isn’t getting enough nutrition?

What Do Kingsnakes Eat?

Kingsnakes are carnivores, meaning their diet consists of other animals. They typically eat small mammals in the wild, such as rodents or lizards.

Here are nine foods that your kingsnake will love:

1. Rodents

Kingsnakes are known for their love of rodents. In the wild, they typically eat mice, rats, and gerbils. Occasionally, they eat shrews, chipmunks, and other small mammals. 

In captivity, they can be fed a diet of frozen/thawed mice or rats. If you’re feeding your kingsnake live prey, supervise closely to avoid injury to the snake or the prey animal.

2. Lizards

Lizards are a significant food source for kingsnakes. They make up the majority of their diet. Common species include whiptails, fence lizards, and horned lizards. 

To prepare them for consumption, you’ll need to kill them first. The most common way is to hit them on the head with a rock or smash their head with your hand if they’re close enough. 

The best way to cook your lizard is by placing it on hot coals until its flesh chars and can be peeled off easily.

3. Birds

Though you might not think it, birds can make quite a tasty meal for your kingsnake. If you have a wild kingsnake, you can simply let it feast on the birds it catches. 

If you have a pet kingsnake, you will need to purchase some quail or chickens from the store. Be sure to cook the meat before feeding it to your snake, as raw meat can contain bacteria that will make your snake sick.

4. Birds Egg

One of the most common foods that kingsnakes eat is bird eggs. While most people think of snakes as carnivores, many species are opportunistic eaters and will consume a wide variety of food items.

Kingsnakes have been known to eat everything from lizards and rodents to other snakes and even bird eggs. 

While they typically prefer live prey, they will consume eggs if given the opportunity. Bird eggs are a good source of protein and other nutrients for kingsnakes, making them an essential part of their diet.

5. Mice

Mice are probably the most popular food item for kingsnakes. They make up a large part of the diet for many species. 

Mice come in different sizes so that you can choose one for your snake. Most pet stores carry live mice, which is what I recommend feeding your snake.

6. Frog

Frogs are a common food source for kingsnakes. They are easy to catch and provide a good amount of nutrition. 

When choosing a frog, ensure it is not too big or too small for your snake. The best frogs for kingsnakes are about the same size as the snake’s head.

7. Turtles

A kingsnake’s diet consists mainly of other snakes, but they will also eat lizards, rodents, birds, and eggs. In the wild, their diet includes turtle eggs. 

To eat a turtle egg, the kingsnake will coil its body around the egg to crack it open. Once the egg is broken, the kingsnake will uncoil and swallow the egg whole.

8. Turtles Egg

A favorite food of kingsnakes is the turtle egg. These eggs are high in protein and offer a good amount of fat, making them a nutritious meal for your snake. 

When looking for turtle eggs, be sure to find fresh ones that have not been cracked. You can typically find these eggs at pet stores or online reptile retailers.

9. Venomous Snakes

Venomous snakes are some of the most feared creatures on the planet. There are many different types of snakes, each with a special diet. What does kingsnake eat?

How Do Kingsnakes Eat Eggs?

When it comes to eating eggs, kingsnakes are pretty resourceful. In the wild, they’ve been known to raid the nests of other reptiles and mammals. But in captivity, they’ll happily chow down on chicken, quail, or duck eggs. 

If you’re feeding your snake store-bought eggs, hard-boil them first. Don’t worry about cracking the shell; snakes can easily spit it out even if a piece of the body gets out of their mouth.

Be careful when handling the eggs; don’t let your hands get too close to their mouths, and be sure not to leave raw eggs unattended where dogs could find them! 

A well-fed king will eat once every two weeks, which is why so many people keep these guys as pets. But if you feed your snake live prey, ensure that the animal is big enough for your snake’s size.

The younger they are, the smaller their game should be–a newborn might start with mice while an adult might eat rabbits or small ducks.

How Do Kingsnakes Eat Living Animals?

Kingsnakes are constrictors, meaning they kill their prey by wrapping their bodies around it and squeezing it until it suffocates.

While this may seem like a violent way to kill the game, it’s pretty human since the prey doesn’t feel any pain. Kingsnakes will eat just about anything they can fit into their mouths, including other snakes!

How Do Kingsnakes Hunt for Food?

Snakes are ambush predators, so they typically wait for their prey to come to them. When a snake is ready to strike, it will open its mouth wide and lunge forward, using its sharp teeth and powerful body to subdue its victim.

Once the prey is captured, the snake will coil around it and constrict tightly, suffocating or crushing the animal. 

Finally, the snake will unhinge its jaw and swallow the prey head first. If a king snake can’t find anything else to eat, it will often just drink water because they’re always thirsty. King snakes also love live food. 

National Geographic says that if you want to keep your pet healthy, it’s best not to feed it more than once every few days with live prey (rodents, lizards, frogs). The rest of the time should be leftovers from your dinner or pre-killed rodents. 

Some other favorite foods of kingsnakes include earthworms and spiders! Now that you do know what do kingsnakes eat, you’ll be able to understand better how they hunt for food!

How Do Kingsnakes Eat Other Snakes?

Kingsnakes are constrictors, meaning they kill their prey by wrapping their bodies around it and squeezing it until it suffocates. This is how they eat other snakes, including venomous ones. To do this, they have to be immune to the venom themselves. 

So even though a kingsnake can kill a rattlesnake with its jaws, it can’t eat one because its venom will paralyze and kill it. Instead, they wait for a venomous snake to bite them on purpose.

Once bitten, they release enzymes that break down the proteins in the snake’s venom and protect them from being paralyzed or killed while eating them! 

Kingsnakes generally prefer small rodents like mice or rats as their main diet. They also eat lizards, frogs, birds, and eggs. The most surprising thing I learned about king snakes was that they aren’t just predators; some feed on slugs and earthworms too!

Are Kingsnakes Good as Pets?

If you’re considering getting a kingsnake as a pet, you should know a few things first. These snakes are not for everyone and require special care and attention. But if you’re up for the challenge, owning a kingsnake can be a rewarding experience. 

Here’s what you need to know about these fascinating creatures, including what they like to eat. The kingsnake is non-venomous, meaning it won’t hurt you with its bite (unless it feels threatened). 

The best way to interact with one is by using tongs or gloves so that it doesn’t mistake your hand for food; most owners feed their snakes pre-killed mice. Other foods include frogs, baby rats, fish, and lizards – anything that the snake will be able to swallow whole.

What Do Pet Kingsnakes Eat?

Most pet kingsnakes are fed a diet of frozen/thawed mice or rats. Some keepers offer their snakes live prey, but this is not recommended as it can be dangerous for both the snake and the prey animal. A varied diet of different sizes and types of rodents is essential for proper growth and development. 

Kingsnakes will also eat lizards, birds, and other snakes in the wild. Some kingsnakes may hunt down their food when given the opportunity in captivity.

Pet kingsnakes are best kept on an entirely pre-killed diet to avoid any potential injuries that could occur if they were allowed to kill their prey.

How Often Do Kingsnakes Eat?

Most kingsnakes will eat once a week when they are young. As they age, they may only need to eat every two weeks. If you have a baby kingsnake, you may need to feed it more often since it is still growing. 

Feed your kingsnake live food, such as mice or crickets, is best. You can also give them frozen/thawed food, but make sure it is small enough for them to eat quickly.

Some people give their kingsnakes thawed mice and vegetables, but this is not recommended because the mouse needs to be just the right size, and there’s no guarantee that it’s fresh.

If you decide to feed your snake pre-killed prey, look for one in the fridge of a pet store that has been thawed for less than 24 hours. Never leave any game unattended with your snake because he could choke on it or ingest some and become ill from eating an insecticide.

What Eats Kingsnakes?

In the wild, kingsnakes have various prey items to choose from. Small mammals, such as rodents and rabbits, make up most of their diet. However, they will also eat reptiles, including other snakes, lizards, and turtles. 

Birds are occasionally on the menu as well. In captivity, kingsnakes can be fed a diet of frozen/thawed mice or rats of appropriate size. Rodents must be gut-loaded before feeding them to the snake. 

These feeders should contain grains, fruits, vegetables, and vitamins. Other food items that can be given include frogs (careful not to feed too many), earthworms (not too often), fish (once every two weeks), beef heart (once every two weeks), crickets (once per week), and mealworms (once per week). Feeding frequency should vary based on the age and condition of the snake.

How Long Do Kingsnakes go without Eating and Drinking?

A kingsnake typically goes no more than two weeks without food or water. If a kingsnake is offered food and water, it will usually eat and drink immediately. However, if a kingsnake is not provided food or water, it may choose to fast for some time. 

The length of time a kingsnake can go without food or water depends on the size of the snake and the temperature of its environment.

More giant snakes with higher metabolisms need more food and water, while smaller snakes with slower metabolisms can go longer between meals. 

In addition, because colder temperatures require less energy to maintain body temperature, they can spend less energy staying warm by digesting their last meal.

Therefore, they have a lower metabolic rate that allows them to survive long periods without eating or drinking when temperatures are low enough (especially during hibernation).

What Do Kingsnakes Look Like?

Small mammals, such as shrews, moles, and rodents, make up most of a kingsnake’s diet. Some species of kingsnake also eat lizards, frogs, and other snakes. In the wild, these predators will eat whatever they can find. 

However, captive kingsnakes typically eat frozen/thawed mice or rats. When feeding live prey to a snake, it is always important to provide small prey items about the same size as the head of your snake so that it does not become constipated.

Prey should be gut-loaded before feeding it to your snake (feed them veggies). Always use tongs when handling your snake because you do not want to risk getting bitten!


Though they are skilled predators, kingsnakes have a relatively small appetite. They typically eat one meal in the wild every 5 to 7 days. In captivity, however, they can be fed more frequently. 

A healthy diet for a kingsnake includes a variety of small prey items such as rodents, lizards, and birds. Their natural hunting skills mean that feeding them live food is unnecessary; instead, these snakes will easily take dead food. 

Their prey must be appropriately sized so that it does not risk choking or constricting their jaws. If you have questions about what your snake should eat, consult an expert!

The Kingsnake belongs to the Lampropeltis genus, which consists of nonvenomous snakes with colorful patterns and diamond-shaped heads.

There are at least 26 Kingsnakes in the United States and Canada, and they come in many different colors and sizes, ranging from 1 foot to 6 feet long. 

But what do Kingsnakes eat? What are their favorite foods? How can you tell if your pet snake isn’t getting enough nutrition?

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