Lampropeltis Alterna Blairi (Gray Barred King Snake)


A medium sized snake, the Gray Barred Kingsnake can grow up to 120cm long (including tail), with an average total length of 91cm. It has a relatively broad head (compared to other Lampropeltis species), and has large eyes with rounded pupils.
L. Alternative coloration and patterns vary widely, but there are two main color morphs, once considered separate subspecies: the "blairi" with broad red / orange stripes and the "alterna" with thinner orange / red stripes. Both are generally on a gray background with white and / or black accents. There are many variations of this basic morphology in the wild and captive bred, with some specimens not even showing orange or red stripes at all.


In the wild, the gray-striped king snake is uncommon. It is a very common species, but nocturnal and quite secret. Its natural range is sparsely populated with humans, and many regions are virtually impassable due to the mountainous terrain. In the herpetology community, finding this snake in the wild is often a laudable feat. Most are located along the roads that traverse their habitat in the Trans Pecos region. L. alterna is generally calm in nature and is not prone to defensive reactions such as biting. They are non-toxic and have an immunity to rattlesnake venom. I think they are beautiful animals but they are quite fast, keep that in mind. They can also be difficult eaters, especially the young animals.

The gray-barred king snake mainly feeds on lizards. It will occasionally feed on small rodents, frogs and the eggs of ground nesting birds, lizards and other snakes. An "alternative" morph with lizard prey item.

Every week I feed the young animals prey from baby mouse to jumper mouse. I feed the adult animals an adult mouse every two weeks. I feed them separately to avoid incidents.

Gender determination.

Sex determination can be done by means of pupae from young animals and probing in adult animals. Have this done by someone with experience to prevent damage to the animals.

L. alterna is oviparous and lays clutches of 3-13 eggs in early summer, which hatch in about 9 weeks. Each young is approximately 20 to 25 cm long.
I hatched the eggs around 27 to 28 degrees in an incubator. Initiation to breeding I kept the males and females separate for 2-3 months. Also keep in mind that young animals can be fussy eaters, so it doesn't have to be.

Gray barred kingsnakes are commonly kept in captivity and are fairly easy to find in the exotic pet trade. Due to their relatively small size, calm dispositions and amazing array of pattern variations, they are often bred in captivity. Many alternative breeders are strict about keeping local bloodlines clean and will only breed snakes from the same region, although market demand is declining, but this is becoming less and less important to some breeders. Crossbreeding with other king snake species, such as the Neune León lambskin, Lampropeltis mexicana thayeri is also fairly common.

I keep my animals as a trio in a terrarium of 100x50x40 with a warm and cold side between 24-28 degrees slightly warm in the summer and slightly colder in the winter. The light hours are therefore between 12 hours in the summer and 8 hours in the winter months.


What do you need:

Terrarium minimum 60x40x40 for 1 animal.

Heat lamp with light 25a50watt for a 60x40x40 terrarium 75a100watt for a 100x50x50 terrarium.

Heat mat for extra night warmth for the winter.

Ground cover humes sand wood chips lignocel aspen etc.

Water bowl depending on the size of your terrarium.

Shelter / arrangement of branches, plant shelter.

Thermometer to measure the correct temperature and adjust your wattage of your lamp.

Other not so necessary products: tweezers, pliers, clasps, mite spray, incubator, vermiculite, etc. This is all available at the better reptile shops and web shops such as www.tershop.com

This can therefore vary from a few tens to hundreds of euros. It just depends on what you want and what you like. And how much you can and want to spend. But keep in mind that you must be able to take good care of it and if you are already in doubt about it, it is better to think about it a little longer. If you have any questions, you can always contact me.