California Kingsnake Tank Size: Having The Right Enclosure Matters

Before purchasing one, you need to know the tank size a California Kingsnake needs. California Kingsnakes are one of the most popular pet snakes, and if you take proper care of them, they’re an excellent pet to have!

If you think tank size isn’t a big deal, you’re dead wrong! Placing your snake in an enclosure that’s too big or too small can affect them negatively, and in this article, I explain how. 

Let’s slither right in!

California Kingsnake Tank Size: The Minimum And Maximum

When you buy a Cali King, you should know that one enclosure won’t be enough. My recommendation is to buy bigger tanks as your snake grows, and I’ll explain why a bit further on.

You can start your California Kingsnake snakelet in a small enclosure – about 10 gallons. Once your pet snake reaches a year, their tank size should increase to a minimum of 20 gallons, but if they’re already 2.5 feet or longer, you can get a 30-gallon enclosure. 

Once your snake is mature, its enclosure should not exceed 40 gallons.

Reasons Why Tank Size Is Important

Your California Kingsnake should always be in a tank appropriate for their size. If their enclosure is too big or small, it can lead to behavioral and physical issues. 

Your snake’s tank should at all times be large enough for them to move around and perform their natural behaviors.

Read more about How To Choose The Best Garter Snake Tank Size?

The Risks Of A Too Small Tank

If your pet snake is in a too-small tank, it’ll be uncomfortable and suffer. 

Signs that your Cali King has already outgrown their enclosure include:

  • Appetite Loss
  • Sudden Illness
  • Excessive Hissing
  • Curling into a Ball
  • A Vibrating Tail

Don’t wait until your Kingsnake shows these signs before moving them to a bigger enclosure. To avoid stress, you need to move them in time!

Read more about Can You House Two Ball Pythons Together? The Brutal Truth!

The Risks Of A Too Big Tank

You may think that a snake enclosure can never be too big since snakes live in the wild. It’s true that your California Kingsnake won’t mind a large tank – the issue is with maintaining an optimal environment within it. 

A bigger tank needs more humidity, heating, basking spots, and branches. If you struggle to keep up with tank maintenance, your pet snake can get ill. A large environment can also lead to stress. 

Read more about Large Snakes: Are Gopher Snakes Good Pets?

What Needs To Fit In A California Kingsnake Tank?

Besides your snake, your chosen enclosure should have enough room to fit the accessories needed to mimic your Cali King’s natural habitat. Here’s everything you’ll need space for:

  • Thermometer
  • Heating Pads
  • Lighting
  • Substrates
  • Water Bowls
  • Hiding Spots

 How quickly do kingsnakes grow

Enclosure Material

Choosing a tank made from the right material is equally important as its size. This is what you can expect from the different enclosure materials:

Glass Enclosures

Most California Kingsnake tanks are made from glass since they’re cheap and available in standard sizes. Glass is more suitable for small snakes, so it will work great while your Cali King is still a snakelet. It holds water and humidity well but has poor insulation and can’t keep heat. 

Plexiglas Enclosures

Plexiglas enclosures are great for the “in-between sizes” phase, but not in the long run. They’re highly flammable and discolors and scratches easily over time.

If you’re willing to look past these negatives, you’ll be happy to know that Plexiglas tanks are robust, easy to clean, and can last for years. 

PVC Enclosures

PVC enclosures are of the better types for Cali Kings and any snake in general. These tanks are lightweight, water-resistant, and can hold heat. 

If you’re opting for a PVC cage, ensure that it’s not made with additives and fillers. 

HDPE Enclosures

High-density polyethylene snake enclosures are top performers in any size. They cost way more than PVC tanks, and with reason. HDPE cages are safer, stronger, and environmentally stabilized. They’re lightweight, waterproof, impact, UV, odor, scratch, and chemically resistant. 

Many manufacturers only have cost and size in mind when designing snake enclosures. If you want your Cali King to thrive, you shouldn’t let go of the other essential factors that make the enclosure what it is, even if you’ll have to put more cash on the table. 

How Long Will A California Kingsnake Be In Each Tank Size

Your Cali King can live in a 10-gallon tank for about a year. After this, they’re not a snakelet anymore and need to be moved to a 20-gallon enclosure. 

A 20-gallon tank will comfortably house your Kingsnake for about another year, maybe two. Then, you need to purchase a 40-gallon enclosure where your snake will live for about 10 – 15 years if they’re in an optimal environment and health. 

Read more about Do Gopher Snakes Have Teeth?

In Summary

If your California Kingsnake gets the proper nutrition, they’ll mature as expected regardless of their tank size. If you don’t increase the size of their enclosure, you risk your pet snake becoming aggressive, stressed, and sick. 

Knowing that you’ll need three different-sized tanks for your Cali King, you can start saving now! You should set enough money aside to buy the next sized enclosure before it’s needed. This way, you’ll have what you need before your pet snake outgrows their tank, and the moving process can take place effortlessly.

I hope this article was helpful! If you have more questions, ask them in the comment section. I’m always happy to answer whatever else it is you’d like to know.

What size tank does a California Kingsnake need?

By the time a California Kingsnake starts maturing, they'll need a tank that's at least 20 gallons.

How long does it take for a California Kingsnake to reach full size?

California Kingsnakes have a big appetite, making them grow quickly. Typically, they reach their full size in three years.

How big is a 2-year-old Kingsnake?

Kingsnakes are approximately 35 - 40 inches by the age of two.

How quickly do Kingsnakes grow?

Kingsnakes practically double in size each year, but by their third or fourth year, they've reached maturity.

Find more information about Are California King Snakes Good Pets? Read This To Decide!