Milk Snake

 

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Range: Americas, Southern North American and Northern Central America

Habitat: Widely varied by species

Natural Diet: Snakes, small rodents, lizards.

Diet at RainForest: Small pre-killed rodents 

Size: 24-40", very thin bodied snake

RainForest Facts: An egg laying snake, the Milk snake typically lays 4-6 highly elliptical eggs in late spring to early summer (depending on location).  60-75 days is the normal incubation period for the eggs, the small babies feed primarily on small lizards and new born rodents.

In the majority of it's range the Milk Snake will spend several winter months in a state of hibernation.  The further north in the animals range the snake is found the longer the period of hibernation.   The Milk Snake will stop feeding several weeks prior to the onset of late fall and will seek shelter in a suitable place such as the rotted stump of a large tree.  

In the extreme southern portions of the Milk Snakes range, the animal will emerge periodically on warm days to enjoy the warmth of the sun and return to it's hibernaculum. 

This species is often known, or identified by many of the rhymes taught to Boy Scouts etc:  "Red against yellow will kill a fellow, red against black a friend of Jack"  There are many variables on basically the same theme.  

Status in Wild: Numbers are stable in most parts of range, loss of habitat represents one of the greatest risks to the species.  Feral cats take an unusually high number of these defenseless snakes.   Humans kill an unusually high number of these shy snakes as they are often mistaken for the Coral Snake.

 

RainForest Adventures zoo, Smoky Mountains, Tennessee near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge TN

 

 

 

RainForest Adventures zoo, Smoky Mountains, Tennessee near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge TN