Basic Milk Snake Facts

14/03/2011 16:25

Milk Snake Habitat
The habitat of the milk snake does not have a wide variation. Typically, it can be found in forested regions and also in open parries. Rocky slopes are also populated by the snake. Talking about its distribution, its population is spread in areas such as southeastern Canada, continental regions of the United States, Central America and also places such as western Ecuador and northern Venezuela.

Milk Snake Appearance and Behavior
Alternating bands of orange-black-yellow or white-black-orange happens to the typical color pattern of this snake. But this is not the case with all the species. There are some, which instead of bearing bands, are marked with red blotches. 20 to 60 inches (51 to 150 cm) is the length which this creature can grow up to. One of the interesting milk snake facts is that, while it is a harmless creature, it has an unmistakable resemblance with the coral snake; one of the most venomous snakes in the world. So in order to distinguish between these two similar looking snakes, people usually use mnemonics which include:

  • "Red on yellow, deadly fellow; Red on black, venom lack."
  • "Red next to black is a friend of Jack; red next to yellow will kill a fellow."
  • "Red to yellow, kill a fellow. Red to black, venom lack."
  • "Red touches yellow, Not a nice fellow; if red touches black, good friend of jack.".. etc.

Milk Snake Diet
What do snakes eat? I am talking about the milk snake. Small mammals, birds, frogs, fish and lizards stay on the menu of the milk snake. On some occasions, it has been found to feed on other snakes as well. Juveniles prey on slugs, insects and earthworms. Although, the snake is known to be an opportunistic eater, its primary diet consists of rodents. And that thing about sucking cow's udder, is a myth, to remind you again!

Milk Snake Reproduction
The period from early May to late June is known to be the ideal time for the milk snake to engage in mating activity. Then, in the months of June and July, the female lays eggs (about 3 to more than 20). The eggs stay hidden beneath logs, rocks, rotten vegetation, etc. Incubation period continues for about 2 months, before the eggs hatch in August and September. 12 years happen to be the life expectancy of the milk snake. About its behavior, the snake is nocturnal and mainly terrestrial.

Milk Snake Conservation Status
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) does not list the milk snake population as it usually does not face any major threat of being endangered or extinct. However, there are some places where the population is getting affected due to pet trading.

Milk Snake Care
Let's continue the milk snake facts with some tips on how to care for this creature, in case you want to keep it as a pet. The prospect of milk snakes as pets can be quite rewarding for most people. Once you are aware of the important milk snake facts such as its diet, habitat, behavior and the likes, the task become easier. Shredded newspaper, paper towels, dry leaves or dry mulch do well for setting up an ideal substrate for this crawler. Cleaning the tank regularly is also an important step in milk snake care. Provide the snake with lots of small and proper hiding places. Also, fill the tank with some branches, considering the preference of the snake to climb. Depending on the place which your milk snake hails from, you would have to set the right temperature in the tank. Ensure that there are no gaps, lest, your milk snake might make an escape.

In captivity, your milk snake can do well with two good-sized mice every week, while if it is a juvenile, then pre-killed pinkie mice is enough, when fed every 4-5 days. What needs to be ensured is that the size of the food is not more than one and half times the width of the widest part of the snake's body, as internal damage may occur. Also, it is advisable not to handle the snake for a few days after it has eaten.

Knowing about the important milk snake facts, as mentioned, helps a lot when you are making up your mind on bringing this creature home and keeping it as a pet. Being docile and easy-to-tame, this snake is considered a great choice for novices. Taking care of the food and environment, is all what is needed to keep this cold blooded creature happy and in good health.

By Rajib Singha




The Reptile Site

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