Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Reptiles

Milksnake

Synonym(s): Lampropeltis triangulum, Kingsnake

Contributor(s): Vetstream Ltd, Kirsty Dewhurst

Introduction

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Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia. 
  • Phylum: Chordata. 
  • Class: Reptilia. 
  • Order: Squamata. 
  • Suborder: Serpentes. 
  • Family: Colubridae. 
  • Genus: Lampropeltis
  • Species: triangulum

Distribution and habitat

  • Found in southern Canada, the United States, Central America and north Southern America. 
  • Generally, live in forested regions, and can sometimes be found in open prairies and semi-deserts. 

Species status

  • Threats include habitat destruction and collection from the wild for the pet trade. 

Life span

  • Unknown in the wild. 
  • Up to 15 years on average in captivity, but can live up to 30 years. 

Diet

  • Carnivorous Snake nutrition
  • In the wild they eat birds, lizards, small mammals, frogs, fish and other reptiles and their eggs.
  • In captivity they can be offered rodents of appropriate size; they may also take earthworms. 

Variations

  • 25 subspecies are recognized. 
  • All of these have vastly different appearances. 
  • Some common examples include: 
    • Blanchard’s milksnake (L. t. blanchardi).
    • Conant’s milksnake (L. t. contanti).
    • Dixon’s milksnake (L. t. dixoni).
    • Nelson’s milksnake (L. t. nelsoni).
    • Smith’s milksnake (L. t. smithi).

Breeding

  • Mating occurs between March and May. 
  • Females lay clutch sizes of 2-17 eggs in June or July Snake reproduction
  • Incubation period is around 2-3 months, and hatchlings arrive in August or September. 

As pets

  • Good as pets due to their docile and easy to handle temperament. 
  • If they feel nervous or threatened, they may bite.
  • Research of the species and snakes in general is advised.

Predatory behavior

  • Opportunistic feeders. 
  • Kill by constriction. 

Biological Data

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Petmd (2018) Milksnake. Website: www.petmd.com. Last accessed 16th April 2018. 
  • Uetz P & Hošek J (2018) The Reptile Database (version Dec 2015). In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life, 30th June 2018. Eds: Roskov Y et al. Website: www.catalogueoflife.org/col. Naturalis, Leiden, The Netherlands. ISSN 2405-8858.
  • Virgina Herpetological Society (2018) Eastern Milk Snake Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum. Website: www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com. Last accessed 17th July 2018.
  • Sczalay J (2016) Facts about Milk Snakes. Website: www.livescience.com. Last accessed 16th April 2018. 
  • Snake facts (2014) Milk Snake. Website: snake-facts.weebly.com. Last accessed 16th April 2018.
  • Martinho F (2009) Milk Snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum). In: Unusual Pet Care Volume 3. 3rd edn. Zoological Education Network, USA. pp 105-108.
  • Encyclopedia of Life. Lampropeltis triangulum - Overview Milk Snake. Website: http://eol.org. Last accessed 17th July 2018.
  • Western New York Herpetological Society. Milk Snake Care Sheet. Website: www.wnyherpsociety.org. Last accessed 17th July 2018.

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