Milk Snake

Lampropeltis triangulum

Class: Reptilia

Order: Squamata

Family: Colubridae

Milk snake range map

Find out more about the Milk Snake from:

 

Websites -

Animal Diversity Web

 

Publications -

Snakes and Lizards of Minnesota  This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it. - 72 page identification and information booklet (10.2 MB)

Milk Snake fact sheet  This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

Minnesota Conservation Volunteer articles

 

Problem animals -

Living with snakes

 

Milk Snake

This nonvenomous, medium-sized snake is found mainly along the Minnesota, Mississippi, and St. Croix rivers, in open places that have rocky outcroppings. Although it may come in many color combinations, it always has black outlines around its blotchy markings.

Identification

General description: This distinctively marked snake is covered with blotches that range from reddish-brown to grayish-brown. The blotches are outlined with black.

Size: Typically, adult milk snakes range in length from 24 to 36 inches.

Color: In general, the milk snake has a light background with brown, rust, or other color spots. The markings have black outlines. A light gray Y- or V-shaped pattern is located on the back of the neck.

Sounds: The milk snake hisses and shakes its tail when it is threatened. This may cause some people to confuse it with a rattlesnake.

Milk SnakeReproduction

Milk snakes mate in spring or early summer. The female lays 8 to 12 eggs, which hatch in 6 to 9 weeks. The newly hatched young are 6 to 10 inches long.

Food

Milk snakes eat a wide variety of food: rodents, birds, eggs, and lizards. They eat other snakes, including poisonous ones. They suffocate their prey by squeezing it, then swallow it whole.

Predators

Coyotes, skunks, raccoons, foxes and birds of prey all will eat milk snakes.

Habitat and range

Milk snakes are found near forests in open land. They often hide around barns and other buildings where mice and other prey are found. They are very elusive. In the spring and fall they are active in the day, but in the summer they do most of their traveling at night.

Population and management

Milk snakes have no special status in Minnesota.

Fun facts

The milk snake earned its name through folk legend. People thought it sucked milk from cows.