"Delta" Phase California Kingsnake
A hypermelanistic, aesthetic phase of the California Kingsnake, found from Glen Co. to Merced Co. This snake was originally called the “Davis Phase” This phase was thought to be only found in the Davis area.
A stretch of habitat encompassed by railroad tracks on one side and a major freeway on the other. This small stretch of habitat was full of all sorts of artificial cover from carpet to concrete and railroad ties scattered all along the slope of the railroad levee. I hunted this spot many times and had only found normal banded kings. My thought at the time is that this small area was fished out and all the cool stuff is sitting in ten gallon aquariums on top of someone’s dresser.
Perfect "Delta" Habitat in Sacramento County
This spot was hit hard and there was a worn trail leading to almost every flip-able item. I was continually resetting A/C, even the new stuff that I put out was quickly found and thrown back with a who gives a crap attitude. A good friend Steve Hinds and I set out about twenty pieces of tin and plywood in area about a thousand yards west of the frequently pillaged area. Hoping we were going to have a few pieces of A/C that was going to be undisturbed and would give us a better chance to find a “Davis King”. We only got to hit our stuff a few times before it was found and not put back like every other piece of cover in that area.
One cool find by Steve Hinds that year, was this hybrid Cal King X Gopher. It was found with a normal banded king under the same piece of A/C.
One season of this frustration is all it took for me to get out the map and start a recon mission. I was told by another herper Dr. Rick Staub that he knew of a "Davis Phase" aberrant that was found in San Jauquin County. Drawing a line between these spots, I found areas that looked like they would be good for seeding with A/C. I then marked them on Google Earth and spent all summer and all winter locating and seeding spots along sloughs, canals, ditches, levees, ponds, crossways, sinks, basins and rivers in the San Joaquin Sacramento Yolo and sutter Bypass areas.
Delta Habitat Sutter Co. California
The hard work paid off. That first year we found 6 aberrant and 9 banded "Davis" phase Kingsnakes, only one being from that well known Davis spot. All of these new spots had one main thing in common; water.
They all were in a giant flood plain that was part of the California Delta. Being that these snakes are found in a much larger area then originally believed and that all the spots are connected in some way to the delta, I decided that I would call them Delta Kings rather than Davis Kings.