Creature Feature: Honduran Milksnake

Honduran Milk Snake

Lampropeltis triangulum hondurensis

MilkSnake1

Reptiles Alive Name: “Soy”

Hissstory: Soy was transferred to Reptiles Alive from another wildlife education organization in April 2008.

RA Diet: Frozen mice that are defrosted and warmed up before being served.  Mmm mmm good!

Natural Diet: Milk snakes will eat small mammals, eggs, and other reptiles – even other snakes!

Range: You can find Honduran milk snakes in Nicaragua, Northeastern Costa Rica, and the Caribbean slope of Honduras.

Habitat: Honduran milk snakes live on the forest floor of tropical rain forests.

Size: Honduran milk snakes are one of the largest species of milk snake in the world!  They can grow over 5 feet long.

Lifespan: Milk snakes typically live around 20 years.

Reproduction: Female milk snakes lay 3-24 eggs which hatch in around 10 weeks.

Conservation:
 Due to their beautiful colors, milk snakes are highly valued in the wild animal pet trade.  Even though these snakes are pretty, they don’t make good pets for most people.  Like all snakes, they will not play with you or want to cuddle.  Most pet reptiles end up unwanted, sick, or worse.
Cool Facts: Milk snakes use quick, jerky movements so that their bands flash, startling predators. Their bright colors signal danger and often confuse predators, making these snakes hard to follow. Other animals in the rain forest may use the same defense such as colorful parrots and highly venomous coral snakes, which milk snakes resemble.

Some people say the poem “Red touch yellow, kill a fellow.  Red touch black, venom lack” to help them remember if a snake is venomous or not.  The problem is,  there are SO MANY different species and subspecies of milk and coral snakes that the poem does not always work!  So at Reptiles Alive, we teach you this poem:

Red touch yellow, leave snakes alone.

Red touch black, leave snakes alone.

Creature Feature: Nelson’s Milksnake

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.