Honduran Milk Snake

Honduran Milk Snake: The Radiant Beauty Of Honduras!

The dreamy mountains of the Island of Honduras in Central America supports a rich growth of oak and pine forests. The highland basins and valleys covering the island are saturated by both tropical and temperate climate, lined with deciduous forests and savannas. Within this green vastness is the shelter of some of the world’s most beautiful snakes like Honduran milk snake.

Honduran milk snakes look simply striking with their red and yellow bands. They seriously look like toy snakes with the colors painted on them. They are glossy and their crossbands are nearly perfect in appearance. Not an inch of color from here to there! Not only that, their docile nature and shy composure make them even more adorable. Let’s know more about them!

Honduran Milk Snake: Everything You Wanted To Know

The milk snake that we will discuss in detail in this article is the Honduran Milk Snake. It is a subspecies of milk snake with the scientific name Lampropeltis triangulum hondurensis. Let’s discover more about this Honduran beauty as we proceed into the next segments.

Honduran Milk Snake Appearance

Source: @max_zootic

What Do Honduran Milk Snake Look Like?

Honduran milk snakes look like sparkling red ribbons slithering on the ground. They have a bright red body that looks slightly orange and partly blood-orange in certain places. Like most other milk snakes, Honduran milk snakes also have white and black crossbands all over their elongated formation. The red bands are the widest, while the black and white bands are thinner.

Their genus name Lampropeltis has a beautiful inner meaning. It has a Greek origin where “Lampros” means “bright” and “peltas” means “shield” pointing at the brightly-colored scales that cover and protect their body like a shield does. Their species name “Triangulum” indicates the tri-colored bands that decorate their body. The subspecies name “Hondurensis” is quite obvious to understand! It is named after the beautiful Island of Honduras in Central America.

The hondurensis subspecies of milk snakes is one of the longest morphs around. In the wild, Honduran milk snake size could be 4 feet long, whereas some captive breeds could be close to 5 feet in length which is impressive considering they do not usually grow longer than 4 feet! Honduran milk snakes may have color morphs. Albino hondurans exist, whereas some may have yellow bands in place of the usual white ones! In short, they are breathtakingly gorgeous!

Honduran Milk Snake Living Origin And Place

Where Do Honduran Milk Snake Live?

Tropical areas of medium elevation are places where Honduran milk snakes thrive. Besides Honduras, its birth place, they can also be found in Nicaragua, and the north-eastern parts of Costa Rica. Climate in Honduras consists of temperatures between 26 and 30℃, and it is generally quite hot. In the highland sections, temperatures drop in a range of 16 to 24 ℃.

Honduran milk snakes are quite shy and secretive. During the daytime they may like to bask and stay in stationary positions, but oftentimes, they can be found under rocks or boulders, or within thick vegetation. However, at night their activity increases by ten fold.

They are quite solitary by nature and are spotted in groups only during their hibernating period in winters. During the harsh winter months, they may migrate to warmer regions, and stay there in crevices and rodent burrows. Stone walls and old, worn-out wells may also be places where you may find the cute looking Honduran milk snakes resting. If not threatened, these milk snakes may also find a place close to humans, like basements or attics.

What Do Honduran Milk Snake Eat?

Honduran milk snakes, just like any other snake in the milk snake family, are harmless, non-venomous colubrids. As they are non-venomous, therefore they do not have fangs. They just have a dentition system consisting mainly of the aglyphous teeth that are used by the snakes to grasp at their prey so that they cannot escape. To a human, all these teeth can do is leave small bite marks. Their teeth are not strong or sharp enough to create punctures.

In the wild, they hunt using the constriction method. They grasp at their prey first using their aglyphous teeth, then slowly coil around the body of the prey, constricting it and cutting off blood flow to its heart. The prey basically dies due to cardiac arrest. After the prey is subdued, the snake then makes a gape large enough to swallow the prey whole.

The colors of the Honduran milk snakes, which resemble flashing light bulbs as they are so bright, intimidate predators. Skunks, raccoons, foxes and predatory birds prey on Honduran milk snakes, but often get deferred by looking at their red-banded appearance. Also, Honduran milk snakes, like most of their cousins, emit a musky scent that keeps predators at bay.

What do Honduran milk snakes eat? They basically go for rodents, lizards, birds and their eggs. They are also ophiophagous and cannibalistic in the sense that they feed on the flesh of their own kin, that is to say, other snakes. Yes, the innocent looking Honduran milk snakes are not so innocent after all! They are immune to venom and can swallow other venomous snakes too.

How Does A Honduran Milk Snake Produce Little Babies?

Honduran milk snakes are oviparous. Oviparous snakes lay eggs, instead of giving birth to live young ones. Yes, there are certain snakes, like the snakes of the Viperidae family, or pit vipers that give birth after the eggs and embryos have matured inside the mother snake’s womb! Honduran milk snake mothers can lay either 2 eggs or 20 eggs depending on her fertility.

Eggs are laid in June, and hatch between August and September, meaning that snake mothers need to incubate the eggs for 2 or 2.5 months. Little Hondurans are 7-8 inches long and appear darker or brighter than their parents, but they get duller over time. They reach sexual maturity at a tender age of 18 months, to ensure that they successfully keep their progeny alive.

What do baby Honduran milk snakes eat? In captivity, snakelets could be fed pinky mice once every week. Feeding babies live mice or food items larger than their head will not be advisable since they might hurt their jaws. Hurt jaws may become infected and cause other diseases. In the wild, baby milk snakes hunt for mice, lizards, tadpoles, and bird eggs.

Honduran Milk Snake: How To Take Care Of One

Honduran Milk Snake Take Care

Source: @snakes_abayov

Honduran milk snakes are beautiful and harmless. Their bright band coloration attracts many pet lovers. If you are thinking of getting one but have never handled snakes before, starting off with a juvenile would be the best option. Adult ones could be a bit handful and if they feel distressed, may defecate onto the palm of your hands! Yes, they do that, besides emitting a musky odor. They defecate and emit the scent via the cloacal opening close to the tail.

One of the best pieces of advice that handlers at a pet store will give you is to let the snake slide through your fingers, on your arms and down your shoulders, without coaxing it to do so. Do not poke or prod with a snake-handling stick unless they have escaped or are acting particularly aggressive. Giving it the freedom it needs will quickly create that unbreakable bond!

As far as enclosing it, make sure you get a terrarium or tank that can be closed from all sides. They can act as “escape artists” sometimes and finding them out might be quite difficult. Let’s not forget they have cannibalistic tendencies. If you have other snakes in your house, there is a chance they may devour them. A 32 quart tub or a 30 gallon aquarium would be best for an adult specimen. Keep the warm side between 82-85 ℉, and the cooler side 72-75 ℉.

Is There A Venomous Look-Alike Of Honduran Milk Snake?

Coral Is Venomous Snake Look-Alike Of Honduran Milk Snake

Source: @herpetologistemma

Yes, coral snakes, for instance, look a lot similar to Honduran milk snakes. They are venomous elapids that must be approached and handled with care and caution at all times. A coral snake’s body has the same red, yellow or white, and black crossbands, and their overall look is glossy, as if a clay-made snake has been hand-painted. But there are nuances that one must look for.

In a Honduran milk snake, or any other milk snake for that matter, you will notice that the red and the white (or yellow) bands do not touch, because the black band always comes in between. On the other hand, in a coral snake, the red and the white (or yellow) bands always touch, and the black bands come later. Also, in a coral snake, the black bands are much thicker.

There is another snake that a milk snake is often confused with, and they are known by the name “fox snake”. Fox snakes belong to the genus of Pantherophis, but they are harmless Colubrids. They are also known by the name of rat snakes. The Pantherophis guttatus species, also called the red rat snake, has a brown body with orange crossbands, making it resemble the looks of a Honduran milk snake to some extent.


A Honduran milk snake is adorable, hands down. There should not be any doubt about that. Their red, yellow and black bands look hand-painted by a divine designer. They actually look like toy snakes! Their non-aggressive nature is another thing that attracts pet lovers.

Honduran milk snake lovers can easily keep them as pets as they are not really a fussy critter. Just like all other snakes, a terrarium or tank with warm and cool spots, and a fun-filled substrate is all they look for. They are one of the best choices for inexperienced snake lovers.

Hello snake lovers! I’m David Mifsud and Snake Insider is my latest project with a vision of spreading reptile awareness to every single netizen. I’ll be introducing some of the most unexplored territories in the world of snakes to broaden the horizon of knowledge for the readers. My personal motto is to get as close to the snakes in nature without disrupting the balance and gather information as well as habitation patterns. It can be later on utilized in order to build a safe and healthy environment for every species of snakes. So stick around with us and I’m sure we won’t disappoint you!

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