Milk Snake: Stats & Facts

posted: 05/15/12
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Milk Snake: Stats & Facts
Chris Mattison; Frank Lane Picture Agency/Corbis Images
More Information[b]Snakes Main[/b], [b]Reptile Guide Main[/b]

Lampropeltis (pyomelana, triangulum, and zonata)

Comparable to King Snakes, most Milk Snakes are tricolored (red, black, and yellow); but due to captive breeding they are now available in many color morphs. These snakes tend to be a more nervous type and, if startled, can possibly bite. They may also urinate or defecate. With a lot of handling these tendencies will decrease.

A Milk Snake's life span is approximately 10 to 12 years. To help them live long lives in captivity, it is very important to provide these animals with a day/night photo period; 12 hours on and 12 hours off usually works best. This can be obtained by using a combination of incandescent lights, heat emitters, and under-the-tank heaters. These all come in a variety of wattages to accommodate different size cages. The proper temperature for these snakes ranges from 84° to 92°F.

Quick Stats: Milk Snake

Family: Colubridae

Origin: From Canada south to Venezuela, but mostly found in the United States

Size: 2 to 4 feet as adults

Diet: In the wild; small rodents, birds, lizards, and other snakes. In captivity; vitamin-dusted mice

Water: A bowl of fresh clean water should be available at all times, preferably large enough to allow the snake to soak

Housing: A 20 gallon long aquarium with a locking screen top

Substrate: Sterile store bought brands of aspen shavings, mulch, or bark; in a pinch, newspaper

Decoration: Hiding places, rocks, and sparse artificial plants

Lighting: Full spectrum fluorescent

Temperatures: 84° to 92°F

Humidity: 40-60%

Breeding Season: Late spring - early summer, after hibernation

Care level: Best kept alone; aggressive when breeding

Cautions: Might bite or relieve itself if startled

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