Red Milksnake


ANIMAL:                                    Red Milksnake         Lampropeltis syspila
Type of Animal: Colubrid
Habitat: Forests, forest edges, open woodlands, prairies, grasslands, areas near streams/rivers, savanna, rocky hillsides, agricultural areas, suburbs, fields, barns, rocky areas, rocky woodland clearings, rocky pastures, meadows, burrows
Location(s): Found from S Indiana through NW Mississippi, W Kentucky, & SE S Dakota through E Oklahoma & Kansas. Isolated population in NW Alabama.
Appearance: Red ground color, dorsal color pattern narrow bands of white, pale gray, cream, or tan bordered by black, alternating w/ red dorsal saddles, white belly w/ black checkered pattern, large red blotch w/ black edge on head
Food/Diet: Small mammals, birds, eggs, lizards, other snakes (including own species & venomous species), young turtles, slugs, insects, earthworms, amphibians, fish
Status in Wild: Stable
Conservation: Breeding in zoos, wildlife centers, & herpetoculture
Lifestyle: Solitary
Additional Info:
Males: Females: Young: Group:
Called: Male Female Hatchling Solitary
Weight: 1 lb 2 lbs Gestation:


Life Span:

2 months
Height: N/A N/A
Body Length: 1.75 ft 2.3 ft 8.5 in 15-20 years
Tail Length: 8 in Same
Main predators are larger snakes, snapping turtles, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, birds of prey, corvids, raccoons, skunks, opossums, weasels, badgers, cats, dogs, otters, bears, & bullfrogs.
Sexually mature at 1.5 years.
They kill prey by constriction.
They sometimes musk and/or bite if agitated/cornered but usually nonaggressive.
They’re valuable since they eat rodents & venomous snakes.
Young individuals more jumpy than adults.
They’re usually nocturnal but sometimes come out during the day in cooler weather.
They hibernate in winter, usually in burrows or rocky areas.
Females lay 2-20 eggs per clutch.
Fun Fact(s): They can make good pets.
Called milk snakes due to false belief that they drank milk from cow udders, due to being seen in barns & stables.
These snakes look very similar to highly venomous coral snakes & sometimes killed for this reason. One poem often used-red on yellow kills a fellow (coral snake), red on black friend of Jack (milk snake).

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