Kingsnake pacing the tank?

We’re not totally sure what to do to help this dude relax/feel a bit safer! From what I know…he’s a kingsnake/milksnake hybrid?

We have a 40 gal set up for Quarantine because we thought that would be roomy enough temporarily while we make sure he’s healthy(he’s going into a 4 x 2 x 2 afterwards)

He’s got a good gradient of about 83-86 on the hot side, 72-74 on the cool, basking surface is around 90-95! He has a UVB strip set up as well.

He has a good 3-4 hides spread around with plenty of clutter and some branches to offer enrichment and climbing and his subtrate is forest floor! We’ll be using biodude’s Terra Firma when we switch him over!

We got him on Thursday the 1st, and I kid you not, he’s been pacing the enclosure ever since. I’ve seen him in a hide once, and coiled up once. We took him out to weigh him and he was extremely panicked. But we haven’t bothered him once since then.

He’s been constantly circling the enclosure, looking like he’s trying to get out…and I mean constantly.I never see him not pacing/trying to find a way out.

Is there anything I can do to help him out?


I assume your quarantine is away from your other snakes? Otherwise I’d say if you’ve got any ovulating females around, that might be what’s driving his behavior.


One thing you can try is cover up as much of the enclosure as possible with a towel. It might be a little hard to get the top but as much as you can get safely and leave it on as much as you can for about a week. I have heard that it helps nervous snakes and lizards get used to their environment without feeling exposed.


Yep! On the opposite end of the home from any other reptiles! I don’t think he could catch a scent that far :frowning:


We have the top ductaped to keep in heat, and i’ll be blacking out the sides + back of the enclosure tomorrow! So we’ll see if that helps the poor guy :frowning:
Is that about all I can do for him?


If you think about it, it’s not really that far, considering they’re used to searching for females in a large area in the wild. A home is enclosed, and scents can be carried as people move from room to room, or air circulates via ventilation. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is breeding behavior, but blacking out the sides is a good place to start.


how big is he? He may have been kept in a much smaller enclosure and the move to a larger environment may be stressful to him


That’s fair; I honestly didn’t even think of that. I know the person we got him from said he’d recently come out of brumation, so I wondered if that could play a part in it.

We’ll for sure black out the sides and try to give him a bit more security!


He’s about 3ft! It looks like he was kept in a bin set up before we got him, so that could be it too honestly.


I would almost bet since he’s just out of brumation and if breeding size/age, he’s looking for ladies.


Gotta agree here. He may be a bit of a nervous personality anyway, and some do react to the stress of traveling to and moving into a new home by being more out and about. But he may very well be looking for love.

One other thought, is there much activity in his new area? Cats or dogs going by, human traffic, all of which create scents and sounds and physical vibrations, noise from music or tv, even lights on when it’s dark outside can be stressors until the animals grow used to them. Most will become used to their new environs. Some just take a bit longer to get there.

Adding some extra privacy by blocking the view may well help him adjust. You’re not providing him any girlfriends, but he’ll give up on this at some point. I’m not sure about the temps on the basking area (not a criticism, honestly not sure) but it sounds like he’s got plenty of room to avoid that if he finds it too warm. Offer food after a week without any handling. Meanwhile, ignore him as much a possible. He’ll settle.


All my males are doing laps, tis the season :face_with_hand_over_mouth:


All I can say is: MEN! :confounded:


Not a current Kingsnake owner, but I used to have some. Why do you have a basking temp of 90-95F? Perhaps it’s overall too hot for him? If it were me, I’d at least try turning off the basking light and see if the pacing lessens over the next 24 hours. I also have to wonder if it could be the UVB. I would turn that off as well being they don’t need it. A number of the species I work with get really charged up, and sometimes very stressed, when just taken outside for photos.


I was kind of thinking the same thing about the basking light heat and the uvb light. My Petra has neither since she is in the tub and she is doing great.

Maybe the little guy is trying to get away from the heat and the extra light……. :thinking:


My absolute 1st thought with any pacing snake…is its unhappy. For whatever reason. Hungry…to hot…or pkain doesn’t like it set up. Could be a forecast of an underlying issue. Its uncomfortable for some reason :confused:

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I mostly agree, with the note that the snake may be unhappy simply because it cannot find a mate in its enclosure. Its “discomfort” may wear off as its hormones settle down.


The only main experience I have with breeding are my Keyans sands…& my main breeder male will pace…& not eat. But he breeds every year. & I have virgin male & female kings & male & female boas. All breeding age…nut all pets. None of my boas ever…ever pace presay… unless Im on a job all weekend come home & they took a big poop & its still in there. Ive worked with multiple snake species & just my 1st thought is…its unhappy…for some reason…especially if its nose rubbing

Thought…is its enclosure brand spaking new…or used…as in had another snake in it before hand…may be some left over smell…thats scaring it…possibly.

Absolutely constantly pacing is …its upset for some reason…especially if it comes across frantic @ long points