Nelson’s 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:

Called:
Male
Female
Young-Snakelet
Group-Solitary

Weight:
Male-0.88 lbs
Female-1.10 lbs

Gestation:
2 months 

Life Span:
15-20 years

Body Length:
Male-3.3 ft
Female-3.5 ft
Young-1.5 ft

Tail Length:
1 ft

Main predators are raptors, larger snakes, coatis, skunks, foxes, dogs, felines (wild & domestic), corvids, & raccoons.

Sexually mature at 1.5 years.

They kill prey by constriction.

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.

Vibrates tail when threatened, sounding like rattlesnake.

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 they drank milk from cow udders, due to being seen in barns & stables.

They can make good pets, due to docile temperament.

2 thoughts on “Nelson’s Milksnake

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