Nelson’s Milk Snake

Lampropeltis triangulum nelsoni

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Creature Feature: Nelson’s Milksnake

Reptiles Alive Name: “Milkshake”

Hissstory: We received Milkshake from a reptile rescue group in 2004.

RA Diet: Milkshake does not actually drink milkshakes.  He much prefers defrosted frozen mice.

Natural Diet: Milk snakes have a varied diet including birds, small mammals, lizards, and other snakes – even venomous snakes!

Range: Nelson’s milk snakes are found in Mexico and Central America.

Habitat: Nelson’s milk snakes live in dry woodlands and rocky areas.  They spend most of their time hiding underground in burrows or rock crevices.

Size: Nelson’s milk snakes can grow 14-18 inches long.

Life Span: Milk snakes can live 15 years or more.

Reproduction: Female milk snakes lay 3-8 eggs in July.  The eggs typically begin hatching in September.

Cool Facts: 
Only mammals drink milk, so why name a snake a “milk snake?”  No one knows for sure how the milk snake got its name, but some people believe that when the first Europeans began settling in the eastern United States a farmer saw a snake biting the udder of a cow.  It is physically impossible for a snake to milk a cow. Perhaps the cow had stepped on the snake and the snake was trying to get the cow to move.

The milk snakes include species and sub-species living throughout North, Central, and South America.  They range in color, but most have a “tri-color” pattern of red, black, and yellow or white bands around their body.  Although this pattern makes them similar in appearance to the venomous coral snakes, milk snakes are completely harmless to humans.