Eastern Milk Snake Facts

Eastern Milk Snake facts include that these snakes are non-poisonous but closely resemble the poisonous copperhead snake.

Milk snakes are a species of kingsnakes and are non-venomous in nature. This species is known by its scientific name Lampropeltis triangulum. Eastern milk snakes are a subspecies of the species of milksnakes and found extensively in the United States. The L t triangulum is often mistaken for the venomous copperhead snake, which is visually similar to the Eastern milk snakes. But, unlike the venomous species, the Eastern milksnake is totally non-venomous and safe for humans. The difference between eastern milk snake vs copperhead snakes is that the Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum has a wider range than the poisonous species and has a more slender and colorful body. People need to be careful of the 'Eastern Milk Snake venomous' rumors as people usually kill these harmless species without giving it a second thought.

This subspecies of milk snakes are nocturnal and terrestrial. The Eastern milksnake is also a great companion to their male counterparts even in their habitats in captivity. Having quite a big resemblance to the scarlet kingsnake, the main difference in appearance will be a different few red-black colored blotches and the Eastern milk snake belly which has a pattern of a black and white checkerboard. The body with blotches of different colors is also a differentiating feature.

Read on to learn all about this milk snake. Also, check out the King Brown Snake and King Rat Snake.

Eastern Milk Snake

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Lizards, mice, small snakes, rodents, birds, eggs, fish, reptiles

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

1-3 lb (0.4-1.3 kg)

How long are they?

24-36 in (60-91 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Light brown/gray with darker brown/reddish-brown blotches

Skin Type

Dry scales

What are their main threats?

Pet trade

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Fields, farmlands, woodlands, and rocky hillsides, barns, river bottoms


NE United States, Iowa, Minnesota





Scientific Name

Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum





Eastern Milk Snake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Eastern Milk Snake?

Eastern Milk Snakes are a type of non-poisonous kingsnakes.

What class of animal does an Eastern Milk Snake belong to?

The Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum, Eastern Milksnakes, are a part of the class of Reptilia in the Animal kingdom.

How many Eastern Milk Snakes are there in the world?

The Milk Snakes are quite common in their habitats and abundantly found. Even in the man-made habitat, this species is quite popular. However, there is no population count for this slender-bodied species currently.

Where does an Eastern Milk Snake live?

The Eastern Milk Snake range starts from the Northeast United States and extends well into Canada and west of Minnesota. It is also found in Maine, Iowa, and some parts of the state of Ohio. In the state of Iowa, the milk snake is almost epidemic to the area, found in every corner of Iowa state.

What is an Eastern Milk Snake's habitat?

The Eastern Milk Snake habitat includes both urban and rural areas, including their wild heritage. Dam bottomland, agricultural fields, farmlands, woodlands, rocky hillsides, barns, river bottoms, and pine forests also make up their habitat. They often take refuge in rotten logs, and the eggs of these snakes are also laid in these logs. They are also found below logs and stones.

In rural areas, the snake's range starts from abandoned buildings to barns. Their presence in these areas helps us, humans, as the snakes help reduce the problem of rodents destroying the crops.

Who do Eastern Milk Snakes live with?

These snakes thrive in a variety of habitats and are well connected with human civilizations. They live in fields, buildings, and barns among humans, but never confront them as these are a shy species. The Eastern Milk Snake is also known as a great pet and is very friendly.

How long does an Eastern Milk Snake live?

The Eastern Milk Snake has a life expectancy of 22 years in captivity. In the wilderness, their average age is unknown.

How do they reproduce?

After a period of hibernation, the adult Eastern Milk Snakes come out of their den in search of a mate in the spring season. The female adults leave a trail of pheromones, which the male adults follow. A clutch of 6-25 of the Eastern Milk Snake eggs is laid by the females in June or July. The eggs are usually elliptically shaped. Eggs are found below rocks, rotten logs, and under the soil. The eggs incubate for six to nine weeks and then the hatchlings emerge in the month of August and September. After emerging from the eggs, juveniles receive no parental care and are made to fend for themselves. The young reach mature age at three to four years after hatching from the eggs.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the Eastern Milk Snakes is kept as Least Concern at the moment. They are abundantly found. They are, however, threatened by pet trading.

Eastern Milk Snake Fun Facts

What do Eastern Milk Snakes look like?

These snakes with brown blotches are very common in the Northeast part of the state of Iowa in the United States. The belly is light-colored and checkered with dark-colored or black markings like a black and white checkerboard. This belly pattern differentiates these snakes from the copperhead snakes. The body of the Eastern Milk Snake has a gray or tan coloration. The gray or tan color on their body is interrupted with brown to reddish-brown blotches with black borders. Sometimes, red color can also be seen. The light-colored body makes the bright red color in the blotches pop out.

The Eastern Milk Snake head has a Y or V-shaped mark, extending from the neck to the head. These markings are colored red, similar to the other bands on the body. The body is slender and long and has a pattern of blotches all over. Red blotches instead of bands in the body are seen in some subspecies of the Milksnakes.

The reddish-brown blotches can be seen clearly over the tan/gray body of the Eastern Milk Snake.

How cute are they?

They are beautiful with their vivid coloration.

How do they communicate?

Communication is achieved by pheromones and moving their tails. It also includes hissing.

How big is an Eastern Milk Snake?

The Eastern Milk Snake size ranges from 24-36 in (60-91 cm). The juvenile Eastern Milk Snake is 5-11 in long.

How fast can an Eastern Milk Snake move?

They usually stay stationary, unless provoked then they start moving quickly.

How much does an Eastern Milk Snake weigh?

The weight ranges from 1-3 lb (0.4-1.3 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Males and females of the species are not given different names.

What would you call a baby Eastern Milk Snake?

A baby Eastern Milk Snake is called a juvenile or a hatchling.

What do they eat?

The adult Eastern Milk Snake diet includes various rodents like mice, rats, small birds, reptiles, fish, and lizards. Fish did not use to be a part of their diet, but the milksnakes living in the riverbeds have evolved now to feed on fish. The Eastern Milksnake is also known to include snakes in their diet, even the poisonous ones. Young hatchlings are known to eat small snakes and invertebrates until they mature.

Are they poisonous?

Is Eastern Milk Snake poisonous? It is believed by many that it is a poisonous snake, however, it is truly a myth. In reality, this subspecies of milksnakes is a harmless snake usually taken in as a pet. They live peacefully in their habitat, be it wild or in captivity.

Would they make a good pet?

They make great pets because of their small size, vibrant colored body, being non-poisonous, and friendly nature. They are best for beginners.

Did you know...

The Eastern Milk Snake adaptations include their use of mimicry as a defensive measure. Due to the bright blotches and patterns on their bodies, the Eastern Milksnake is often confused with copperheads and coral snakes. The non-venomous milk snakes have evolved into this look-alike coloration of the venomous ones to scare off predators.

There have been specimens that have grown to 52 in long.

Do Eastern Milk Snakes bite?

Eastern milk snakes usually do not bite. They can bite if feeling threatened, mistaking your fingers for food, or during shedding. The bite is not poisonous and won't harm you.

How to care for an Eastern Milk Snake

The Eastern Milk Snake care includes a spacious vivarium filled with loose substrates to help the snakes burrow. Fresh, clean water should be provided. Small rodents and lizards should be a good feed to the snakes for the day.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including the kukri snake and krait.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Pueblan milk snake coloring pages.



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