Eastern Milk Snake
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Online Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Connecticut

Eastern Milk Snake - Lampropeltis triangul

Description

Measures 24 to 36 inches (61 to 90 cm) and is smooth-scaled. The pattern on the back is usually gray or silvery gray with brick-red or rusty-brown saddles. The neck nearly always has a “Y” pattern. The ventral is grayish white with a black checkerboard pattern. Young resemble adults, but with brighter coloration.

 

Reproduction

Lays 9 to 14 eggs in a single clutch in early summer.

 

Habitat

Usually found under logs or rocks in woodland habitat, often associated with pines and oaks. However, it is equally common on farmland or along rivers. Often found near houses, where it occasionally enters basements to spend the winter.

 

Food

Eats a variety of vertebrate prey. Amphibians, small mammals, small birds, and even snakes and lizards are constricted before being swallowed.

 

Range

From Minnesota east to the New England Atlantic coast, from as far south as eastern North Carolina, and north to the southern border of Quebec. Intergrades with the Scarlet Kingsnake in the South. Occurs in all 6 New England states and can be found in all counties in Connecticut.

 

Status

Not federally protected.

 

Comment

Often confused with the Copperhead, although it lacks loreal pits, has round pupils and is nonvenomous. Milk snakes derive their common name from a myth that this species enters barns and drinks milk from cow udders. In fact, the snakes eat the mice found in barns.

 

References

Conant, R. and J.T. Collins. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 450 pp.

Klemens, M.W. 1993. Amphibians and Reptiles of Connecticut and Adjacent Regions. Hartford, CT: State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut Bulletin 112. 318 pp.

 

Credits

Text by Gregory J. Watkins-Colwell.
Photograph © Twan Leenders. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Animal featured on this page is from Connecticut.