California King Snake

California King Snakes (Lampropeltis californiae) are some of the most powerful snakes in the world. In general, pound for pound, king snakes are the strongest constrictors.

Though they are famous for their ability to eat rattlesnakes and other snakes like Rosy Boas, their usual diet consists of rodents, young birds, lizards and anything else with a tail and a head.

King snakes live in almost every habitat on the Baja California Peninsula, including urban areas, salt flats and sand dunes, but they are extremely rare. My good friend who grew up in La Ventana has never seen one, and it has long been my dream to find one.

Last week, I heard my dad shout “SNAKE!” I was expecting a coachwhip or maybe a gopher snake but, when I got there, I saw my first king snake. I was in shock.

After holding her for a minute, she unfortunately regurgitated a Rosy Boa (regurgitating is a defense mechanism for many snakes, as it makes them lighter and faster, which they hope will help them escape). I was lucky to see a king snake at all, and this was something very special, but there was more to come.