Ruthven's Kingsnake

General Information

Family:  Colubridae

Locale:  North America, most common in southeast, southern New Jersey through Florida, west to central Louisiana and southwestern Texas

Habitat:  Woodlands and fields (wherever rodents live)

Average Size:  2.5-5 feet, record 6 feet

Average Life Span:  21 years

Activity:  Diurnal

Care Summary

Captive care:  20-30 gal aquarium; substrate: newsprint, paper towels, Carefresh; water bowl large enough for soaking; hide box.  If using rack system, adults can be kept in pairs or trios in blanket boxes.

Temperature:   75-85˚F

Lighting:  No special lighting needed.

Diet:  Mice (pinky, fuzzy, weanling, depending on size of snake; food item should be as big around as fattest part of snake); readily takes frozen-thawed; feed once a week, 1-3 food items per feeding.

Breeding:  Brumation between December to mid-February at 63 to 72˚F

                  Breeding to egg laying:  ≥1month

                  Clutch size:  5 to 34; average: 12

                  Incubation:  9-12 weeks depending upon temperature (60-65 days at 82 ˚F)

Temperament: Docile, likes to be held

Notes:  Good beginner snake; hatchlings are escape artists so enclosure must be secure.


Bartlett, P.P., Griswold DVM, B. and Bartlett, R.D. 2001. Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates, an identification and care guide.  Barron’s Educational Series, Hauppauge, NY. 279pp.

Hudson, Alicia “Corn Snake (Elaphe [Pantherophis] gutata)” (On-line), Savanah River Ecology Laboratory, Herpetology program. Accessed August 27, 2016 at

Love, Kathy and Bill Love. 2006. Corn snakes: the Comprehensive Owner's Guide.  BowTie Inc. Irvine, CA. 227 pp.

Sonderberg, Don. 2006. Corn Snakes in Captivity.  E.C.O. Herpetological Publishing & Distribution. 115 pp.

Photo: Eileen Underwood

Range Map:

Compiled by Eileen Underwood. Updated 8/2016.

The Herpetarium is a facility in the Department of Biological Sciences.

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Updated: 04/13/2021 01:06PM