LeRoy, the California Kingsnake
LeRoy was just a baby when he was injured at a construction site by a large piece of heavy equipment called a backhoe. The construction workers took the time to rescue LeRoy and rushed him to a wildlife rehabilitator, who then took him to a veterinarian to determine the extent of his injuries. X-rays showed that LeRoy had a fractured spine, or in other words, a broken back.
LeRoy’s recovery took about 5 months. At that time, his rehabilitator put him through a series of tests to determine if he could be released back into the wild. It was discovered that he did not have enough muscle strength in the lower half of his body to constrict his prey. As a result, it was best for LeRoy to come to Splash, where he could be cared for and used as an educational animal.
The Kingsnake received its name because it often eats other snakes, including Rattlesnakes. The Kingsnake is nearly immune to Rattlesnake venom and doesn’t worry about being bitten. Like a Boa Constrictor, the Kingsnake coils its body around its prey squeezes the prey animal to death.
In addition to other snakes, Kingsnakes eat lizards, mice, birds, and bird eggs. California Kingsnakes have even been known to eat their own skin sheddings to recycle the nutrients! The Kingsnake is eaten by hawks, owls, coyotes, opossums, skunks, and other predators.
In June or July, a female California Kingsnake lays 2 to 24 eggs under leaves on the ground and then she leaves them. About 70 days later, baby snakes that look like miniature adults emerge.
LeRoy was hatched in the spring of 2004. He is a bit shy but doesn’t seem to mind being observed. If you look closely, you can see he looks a bit kinky or bumpy because of the muscle weakness caused by his old injury.