61 Wild & Interesting Facts About Milk Snakes

Milk snakes are beautiful reptiles of the Colubridae family. They come in all different sizes and colors.

Are you ready to learn lots of exciting facts about milk snakes?

In this article, we have pooled together all of the most interesting milk snake facts. Check them out.

Key Takeaway:

The lifespan of a milk snake is 15 to 20 years. They are terrestrial reptiles and tend to live in forested areas. Milk snakes are solitary animals and only come together to mate or brumate. Milk snakes have red, black, and yellow bands or white, black, and red bands.

What are some of the most interesting things to learn about milk snakes?

Dive into our pool of fun milk snake facts coming up next.

milk snake facts

Milk Snake Facts

Milk snakes are non-venomous snakes that split into 24 subspecies and come in many different colors.

What are some of the most intriguing things to learn about these reptiles?

Take a look at our fact trove to see.

Lifespan Facts

If you’re considering adopting a snake, you will need to find out a lot about how to look after these reptiles. Finding out about its lifespan will ensure you will be able to look after it for its whole life.

How long do milk snakes live?

Here are some of the most interesting facts about milk snakes and their lifespans in the wild and captivity.

  • In the wild, milk snakes tend to live for about 15 years.
  • In captivity, milk snakes can live for up to 20 years. They tend to live longer in captivity than they do in the wild because they receive immediate care when they are sick and are safe from predators. Your pet has the potential to live for even longer as long as it gets enough vitamin D, eats the right diet, and has enough space to move about in its enclosure.
  • Milk snakes reach maturity by 3 to 4 years of age.

Habitat Facts

Finding out more about the natural habitats of snakes will help you to know where to find them. Perhaps there are some living in your region!

Where do milk snakes live?

Find out more below about where you’ll find most milk snakes.

  • Milk snakes are mainly terrestrial animals. Although you will usually see them on the ground, they can swim and climb.
  • The habitats of all the different types of milk snakes are vast, but they tend to live in forested or wooded areas. Some of the subspecies of milk snakes like to live near swamps and farmland, while others like rocky slopes and sand dunes.
  • Some milk snakes living in zones with harsh winters migrate depending on the season. In the winter, they migrate to drier habitats, and in summer, they migrate to moister habitats.
  • Milk snakes are reclusive animals and like to blend in with their surroundings. That’s why you will find them coiled in rotting vegetation and rotting logs.

Housing Facts

If you are considering adopting pet snakes, you must house them properly. Putting them in the right-sized enclosure is also essential for their well-being.

Can milk snakes live together?

Find out the living requirements for this snake species when they live and are bred in captivity.

  • Milk snakes are a solitary species and do not like to live together. Some milk snakes become cannibalistic in the presence of other snakes.
  • Milk snakes only come together during mating season and to brumate. During the winter, a group of milk snakes might share a den and then brumate together. But some might choose to brumate alone.
  • Hatchlings and baby milk snakes bred in captivity can live in terrariums just 10 gallons big. But adults will need a much larger living space, between 20 and 70 gallons, depending on the size of the snake.

Common Subspecies

A milk snake is not just one type of snake. This species breaks down into other subspecies, all with different characteristics.

Which are the most common subspecies of milk snakes?

There are currently 24 recognized species of milk snakes. Here is a list of the most popular members of the subspecies.

black pueblan milk snake
  • Eastern milk snake (L. t. triangulum)
  • Mexican milk snake (L. t. annulata). These are often called the Mexico milk snake.
  • Central Plains milk snake (L. t. gentilis)
  • Louisiana milk snake (L. t. amaura)
  • New Mexico milk snake (L. t. celaenops)
  • Sinaloan milk snake (L. t. sinaloae)
  • Pueblan milk snake (L. t. campbelli). These are also often called Campbell’s milk snakes.
  • Black milk snake (L. t. gaigeae)
  • Pale milk snake (L. t. multistrata)
  • Utah milk snake (L. t. taylori)
  • Honduran milk snake (L. t. hondurensis)
  • Jalisco milk snake (L. t. arcifera)
  • Red milk snake (L. t. syspila)
  • Stuart’s milk snake (L. t. stuarti)
  • Guatemalan milk snake (L. t. abnorma)
  • Blanchard’s milk snake (L. t. blanchardi)
  • Conant’s milk snake (L. t. conanti)
  • Dixon’s milk snake (L. t. dixoni)
  • Nelson’s milk snake (L. t. nelsoni)
  • Pacific Central American milk snake (L. t. oligozona)
  • Atlantic Central American milk snake (L. t. polyzona)
  • Smith’s milk snake (L. t. smithi)

The scarlet kingsnake used to be classified as a milk snake, but it is now recognized as a separate species and does not fall into the milk snake category.

The Most Outstanding Subspecies Facts

Every subspecies of milk snake is different. There is so much we can learn about them.

What are some of the stand-out features of the different subspecies?

Check them out in the following list of milk snake fun facts.

  • The black milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum gaigeae) is the largest milk snake subspecies known. It can grow between 152 and 183 cm long.
  • Sinaloan milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum sinaloae) is one of the most common milk snakes in the pet trade.
  • Mexican milk snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum annulata) are shorter in length but larger in width than other milk snakes.
  • Red milk snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum syspila) are some of the smallest snakes of the subspecies. Red milk snakes measure between 53 and 71 cm.
  • Stuart’s milk snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum stuarti) live in the Andes mountains in Central and South America. These snakes love the cooler temperatures.
  • You will find the Ecuadorian milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum micropholis) in parts of South America, including Colombia and Ecuador.
  • Eastern milk snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum) are so called because they are indigenous to Eastern and Central North America.
  • Black young milk snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum gaigeae) are brightly colored. It is only when these young milk snakes become adults that they change color and turn black.

Resemblance to Coral Snakes Facts

Many people are wary of milk snakes because of their resemblance to dangerous snakes. But in reality, they are a completely distinct species.

coral snake

Are milk snakes a venomous species of snakes?

Find out why these snakes are often confused with the deadly coral snake up next.

  • Milk snakes are not venomous. These snakes are reclusive and prefer to hide rather than attack.
  • A bite from a milk snake will not usually be too painful as these snakes only have small teeth and do not have venom like other snakes do. The venomous coral snake, on the other hand, has erect fangs.
  • Coral snakes have red, yellow or white, and black bands. Milk snakes have red, black, and yellow bands or white, black, and red bands.
  • Coral snakes and milk snakes are reclusive and only come out when it is time to breed.
  • People use the saying “red touches black friend of Jack, red touches yellow kill a fellow” to tell the difference between a deadly coral snake and a milk snake. But this is not always reliable as there are a few milk snakes with red, yellow, and black bands just like coral snakes, but they are not dangerous snakes.

Prey Facts

Milk snakes have a very broad diet and like to eat lots of different things. Some of the foods they love to tuck into may surprise you.

Do milk snakes eat other snakes?

Let’s take a look at the typical menu of these snakes.

  • Milk snakes kill their prey by constriction. They constrict their bodies around their prey and squeeze tight to stop the prey creature’s blood flow to the heart, killing the prey. It will then sink its teeth into it.
  • Many subspecies eat birds, bird eggs, crickets, worms, slugs, small lizards, small mammals, and even other young snakes. The harmless milk snake will even eat a venomous snake.
  • Hatchlings will eat pinky mice, frogs, and small lizards. In the wild, hatchling milk snakes will mainly feed on other small snakes.

Color Facts

Some milk snakes come in traditional colors that are typical of coral snakes. But others come in very distinct colors and with eye-catching markings that make them stand out against the rest.

What color is a milk snake?

Milk snakes have beautifully smooth and shiny scales. Let’s find out what colors they come in.

  • You will be able to identify a milk snake by its alternating bands of color. They are either red and black and yellow or white and black and red.
  • Some people use the mnemonic “red on yellow kills a fellow” and “red on black friend of Jack” to differentiate between harmless milk snakes and venomous snakes such as coral snakes.
  • People often kill milk snakes because they resemble venomous snakes.
  • Black milk snakes begin to turn black when they are 6 to 10 months old.
  • Young pale milk snakes are brightly colored but become paler as they get older. Their pale patterns as adults are what makes this milk snake stand out against the others.

Size Facts

Maybe you are looking for a small milk snake that you know you will have space to house. Or perhaps you love big snakes because the bigger the better!

How big is a milk snake?

Milk snakes are species of king snakes. Here’s everything you must know about their sizes.

  • Milk snakes can measure anywhere between 36 and 183 cm.
  • Male milk snakes are often larger than female milk snakes.
  • Milk snakes that live in tropical populations are normally larger than those that live in temperate populations like some parts of North America.
  • It takes about 3 years for a milk snake to reach its adult length.

Name Facts

The origin of the name of an animal is often very fascinating, and the milk snake is no exception. There is a reason why they are called “milk” snakes, and it might surprise you.

Is it true that milk snakes milked cows?

Find out the truth behind their name in these upcoming facts.

  • Milk snakes were given the name “milk” because of an old folk tale. In the folk tale, milk snakes were said to suck the milk from cow udders. But this is completely impossible.
  • Milk snakes were also given their name because of their common presence around farms and cow sheds. They spend a lot of time there because they hunt the rodents that live around the barns, eating the cow’s grain.
  • The Eastern milk snake is often called the common milk snake, the chain snake, the chequered adder, the thunder-and-lighting snake, and the chicken snake, amongst other names.

Egg Facts

Spotting a snake egg in the wild can be a little tricky as they are always well concealed. The way that milk snakes lay their eggs is very fascinating.

How long does a milk snake take to hatch?

Take a look at the following egg facts to find out.

  • Milk snake eggs incubate for 2 to 2.5 months before they hatch.
  • The female milk snake will abandon her eggs after laying them. But to make sure they are safe, she will hide them amongst rotting vegetation and underneath logs and rocks.
  • They lay about 10 eggs at a time. A group of eggs is called a clutch.
  • Their eggs are white and oval.
  • Hatchlings are 14 to 28 cm long.

Eastern Milk Snake Facts

The Eastern milk snake is a slender, medium-sized snake in this subspecies. It originates from the Eastern and Central parts of the United States.

What makes this snake so special?

Slither down this page to find some of our favorite facts about this subspecies.

  • It is the official snake of the state of Illinois in the United States.
  • This snake rattles its tail to mimic a rattlesnake and ward off potential predators.
  • This snake’s diet will change as it gets older. As a juvenile, it will feed on other snakes, frogs, and insects. As an adult, it will eat birds and rodents.
  • As hatchlings, these snakes have very prominent bright red blotches on them. These startling colors fade as they get older.

Central Plains Milk Snake Facts

You will find this snake in Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Some are even found in parts of Nebraska.

What makes this snake so interesting?

Check out our list of facts about this snake to find out.

  • This snake is often called the Western milk snake.
  • It has a gray nose with black flecks on it.
  • You are most likely to find this snake on a warm rainy night in the spring when it comes out of hiding to find a mate. Other than that, it is very difficult to spot as it is so secretive.
  • This snake spends most of its time hiding under the cover of pieces of timber and flat rocks.
  • It is immune to pit viper venom.

Louisiana Milk Snake Facts

This milk snake is common in Texas and has bands of red, black, and yellow. These colors make it easy for people to confuse this snake with the coral snake.

What are some of our favorite facts about this milk snake?

Slide down this page to see.

  • It is a beautiful snake. Its head is black and pointy, and its scales are shiny.
  • There are, on average 9 eggs in every clutch that this subspecies lays.
  • One of the oldest Louisiana milk snakes had a very impressive lifespan of 20 years and 7 months in captivity.
  • This snake likes the wooded and sandy areas around the Gulf Coast.
  • You will find this snake in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas.

Pueblan Milk Snake Facts

You will find Pueblan milk snakes in Mexico in Puebla, Morelos, and Oaxaca. They are normally red, white, and black, but some rare color patterns are also common in captivity.

Why are Pueblan milk snakes such popular pets?

Find out why up next.

  • These snakes love warm climates and low to mid-humidity environments. This is why they must live in a temperature-controlled terrarium when out of their natural habitat.
  • These snakes are opportunistic carnivores, but they mostly feed on rodents such as mice and rats in captivity.
  • Pueblan milk snakes can eat gerbils and hamsters in captivity, but they will get the most nutrition from mice.
  • When the temperatures in their habitat are ideal, it will take 60 days for Pueblan hatchlings to emerge from the eggs.

Milk Snake FAQs

There are so many mind-boggling things to learn about milk snakes. That is why we have put together this milk snake fact and questions section to help you learn more about your favorite reptile.

Check out the following frequently asked questions and their intriguing answers up next.

Can a Milk Snake Swim?

Milk snakes are mostly terrestrial animals. But if they find themselves in a tricky situation, they will climb or swim to get out of it.

Yes, a milk snake can and will swim if it needs to. It propels its body across the water and is a very agile and able swimmer.

How Big Do Milk Snakes Get In Feet?

Milk snakes are medium-sized snakes. They vary in size from 1.6 to 4.2 feet.

They need a 20 to 70-gallon terrarium to house them comfortably. But if you have room for a bigger enclosure, get it.

What Is the Largest Milk Snake Ever Recorded?

The largest milk snakes ever known grew up to 7 feet in length.

The largest milk snake subspecies is the black milk snake. The average size of this snake is 5 to 6 feet long, but it does have the potential to grow up to 7 feet long in captivity.

The smallest milk snakes are red milk snakes. They normally measure between 1.7 and 2.3 feet.

Is a Milk Snake Aggressive?

Milk snakes are not aggressive. They are generally docile snakes that will retreat, hide, and freeze when they feel threatened.

A milk snake will rely on its ability to blend in with leaves to go unnoticed in the wild. It also relies on its coloring that matches the coral snake to ward off predators.

Milk snakes do not look for confrontation and are very secretive snakes. They spend most of their time hiding and only come out when it is time to mate.

If you corner a milk snake, it will defend itself. It might start to rattle its tail to ward off a predator.

If you try to trap a milk snake, it might strike at you and bite you. But this snake is nonvenomous.

Can Milk Snakes Harm You?

A milk snake is a docile animal that will not go out of its way to harm you. But it might bite you if you corner it or try to trap it.

These snakes do not have fangs, and their teeth are very small. So, a bite from a milk snake rarely breaks the skin and is not overly painful.

Milk snakes are nonvenomous, so a bite from one, other than causing discomfort, will not harm you.

Can You Touch a Milk Snake?

Milk snakes are solitary animals and do not need human affection. Some of the subspecies can become more tame in captivity if you try to handle them regularly, but others will never settle down and will not like it when you touch them.

Whether the milk snake becomes more tame with time depends on its individual personality.

When handling your snake, make sure you do not do so for longer than 10 minutes, as a milk snake needs to maintain its body temperature. Long handling sessions can make a milk snake’s body cool right down, and it might struggle to warm up again.

Always keep handling sessions short because of the needs of these snakes and because of their solitary nature.

Always wash your hands before and after touching your milk snake. This is especially important after you touch your snake’s food.

Do not attempt to touch it while it is eating. Wait for your snake to completely digest its food before you touch it (this can take between 24 and 72 hours).

Always approach it slowly. Make sure your snake can see your hand as it approaches it.

Do not touch your snake while it is shedding.

Why We Love the Milk Snake

The milk snake is a harmless species of king snake that a lot of people confuse with other venomous snakes. Thanks to this article, we have seen some of the ways you can use to differentiate this snake from a harmful coral snake.

Milk snakes do not have fangs. They have small teeth and will only bite when they feel you pose a threat.

Milk snakes come in lots of different colors and measure between 36 and 183 cm.

Did you find this article interesting?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide you with the best articles about milk snakes and other reptiles. For more information about setting up a milk snake or reptile enclosure, check out our website.

Thanks for reading!

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