These BEAUTIFUL snakes are juvenile SPECKLED KING SNAKES from south-western USA, but both bred by a friend of mine here in the UK! It was meeting and handling a beautiful speckled king snake as a young child which first ignited my love of snakes so I am delighted to have these in my collection!
The three pictures above are of my male, who I think is absolutely gorgeous! Whilst he is very attractive in his own right I also have a second individual which is a bit special as it is one of very few in the UK! This female below was bred from parents which originated from a particular area of Texas called Harris County, where habitat destruction has led to them being very rare in the wild. The few individuals found in this localised area are well known for their intense yellow colouration as adults (and orange bellies as juveniles) and are also known as lemon kings:
I ran a competition via this webpage, and also via my Facebook and twitter pages, to find a name for this beautiful individual and at the end of January 2015 I chose the name Pixel from all the hundreds of suggestions I received! It suits her perfectly and was a name suggested by seven people in total, but the very first person to suggest it (and therefore the winner of a half price visit from the animals & I to the Swindon school at which she teaches) was Beki Quinlan of Cirencester!
Both of these snakes will become more and more spotted or speckled as they grow and develop, with most adult speckled king snakes having a single yellow spot on every dorsal and lateral body scale. You can see the development of the speckles quite clearly in the pictures of the male below, with the one on the left having been taken around a year before the one on the right - quite a remarkable change!
Whilst they look beautiful already, despite only being juveniles in these pictures, they will be even more spectacular in the months and years to come - especially the one from Harris County. Here are some pictures of a normal adult speckled king snake I used to own (and which I now wish I had never agreed to sell to a good friend of mine)!
You can clearly see from this final picture how the scales on the top and sides of the body each has a single yellow spot or speckle of a variety of shapes. I am very much looking forward to seeing how these two juveniles continue to develop!