Nelson’s Milksnake

Nelsons milksnake

ANIMAL:                              Nelson’s Milksnake       Lampropeltis nelsoni
Type of Animal: Colubrid
Habitat: Semi-arid coastal thorn scrub, forests, plains, watercourses, coastal bush areas, rocky slopes, prairie, rocky outcroppings, fields, agricultural areas, barns
Location(s): Mexico from S Guanajuato & C Jalisco to Pacific Coast, as well as NW Michoacan & on Tres Marias Islands
Appearance: Red ground color w/ black outer rings & yellowish-whitish inner rings, black & yellow pattern around head, albino morphs relatively common w/ pinkish-whitish ground color, wide red bands, & smaller yellow-white rings
Food/Diet: Small mammals, birds, lizards, amphibians, other snakes (including members of own species & venomous species), eggs
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: 0.88 lbs 1.10 lbs Gestation:


Life Span:

2 months
Height: N/A N/A
Body Length: 3.3 ft 3.5 ft 1.5 ft 15-20 years
Tail Length: 1 ft Same
Main predators are birds of prey, larger snakes, coatis, skunks, foxes, dogs, felines (wild & domestic), corvids, & raccoons.
Sexually mature at 1.5 years.
They kill prey by constriction.
They’re valuable for keeping populations of rodents & smaller venomous snakes in check.
Females lay 2-20 eggs per clutch.
While mostly docile, they may musk & even bite if agitated. Younger animals more likely to do this.
They breed in May-June.
They vibrate tails when threatened, sounding like rattlesnakes.
Warmer egg temps usually create males while cooler temps create females.
Fun Fact(s): Named for American naturalist Edward W. Nelson.
Called milk snakes due to false belief that they drank milk from cow udders, due to being seen in barns & stables.
They can make good pets, due to docile temperament.

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