Milk Snake Size

Milk Snake Size: A-Z With Size-Chart And Care-Guide!

Milk snakes can be found all over North, Central and South America. This Lampropeltis genus shares a common tri-banded look that has three colors in it–red, white and black. Some may have different shades of red, and some albino morphs may not have black at all.

Milk snake size is an important factor to keep in mind when you are thinking of keeping them as pets. While the Mexican milk snakes are only 2.5 feet in length, Andean or black milk snakes may be gigantic! This article will guide you about milk snake sizes and their lifestyles. Hop in!

At-A-Glance Chart To Show All Milk Snake Size

Below is a list of all subspecies (including a hybrid) of milk snakes in order of size, starting with the shortest. Milk snakes usually grow between 2 and 4 feet, but at times could be longer.

Milk Snake Common Name Size Of The Snake Milk Snake Common Name Size Of The Snake
Length (feet) Length (feet)
Louisiana Milk Snake 2 feet Pacific Central American Milk Snake 3.5 feet
New Mexico Milk Snake 2 feet Conant’s Milk Snake 4 feet
Central Plains Milk Snake 2 feet Stuart’s Milk Snake 4 feet
Mexican Milk Snake 2 to 2.5 feet Sinaloan Milk Snake 3 to 4 feet
Pale Milk Snake 2.5 feet Red Milk Snake 2 to 4 feet
Utah Milk Snake 2.5 feet Pueblan Milk Snake 3 to 4 feet
Coastal Plains Intergrade Milk Snake 2.5 feet Guatemalan Milk Snake 5 feet
Nelson Milk Snake 3.5 feet Honduran Milk Snake 4 to 5 feet
Jalisco Milk Snake 3.5 feet Eastern Milk Snake 2 to 5 feet
Blanchard’s Milk Snake 3.5 feet Atlantic Central American Milk Snake 5 feet
Dixon’s Milk Snake 3.5 feet Andean Milk Snake 6 feet
Smith’s Milk Snake 3.5 feet Black Milk Snake 4 to 7 feet

How Big Do Milk Snakes Get?

Milk snakes could be as tiny as 2 feet, or as long as 7 feet! Before we proceed, let’s take a look at who these tiny-minnies and giants are. Also, you can look here to get an idea of the size range of milk snakes and also their relatives kingsnakes.

Louisiana milk snake, New Mexico milk snake, and Central Plains milk snake grow up to only 2 feet in body length. On the other hand, the giant among all milk snakes would be the black milk snake, which can grow anywhere between 4 and 7 feet.

The average body length of milk snakes, with the scientific name Lampropeltis Triangulum, is between 2 and 4 feet. They are a species of kingsnakes and share the ever-popular tri-banded look in the colors red, black and white. They weigh between 38 to 225 grams in the wild, depending on habitat and food availability. In captivity, they can grow even larger.

Milk Snake Size: Pocket-Size Milk Snakes And Their Lifestyle

Let’s get introduced to some small-sized milk snakes first, and then we will meet the larger ones. It is to be noted that only certain types of milk snakes have been discussed here. If you want to know about all the subspecies, you can check out this article. In this segment you will take a sneak-peek into how milk snakes appear and their lifestyle.

Small-Sized Milk Snakes

Source: @louisianamilkdude

Small-Sized Milk Snakes (2 To 2.5 Feet)

  • Louisiana Milk Snake: These milk snakes are bright red in color, with very thin but distinct black and white crossbands. They thrive in Texas and mimic the venomous coral snakes to keep predators away. They grow only 2 feet in length, and some could be as tiny as 1 foot and a few inches long. They like the moist and sandy wooded areas on the Gulf Coast Barrier Islands.
  • New Mexico Milk Snake: Another beautiful subspecies of milk snakes, New Mexico milk snakes are natives to South America, but are also found in Texas. Rocky grasslands and thorny scrubs are their favorite places to forage and hide in. They are very tiny ranging anywhere between 1.5 and 2 feet, with a few specimens reaching a little over 2 feet.
  • Central Plains Milk Snake: At a glance, these exquisite looking milk snakes of Central Texas and Colorado look mainly black and white, but then you notice the super-red, glistening red crossbands. They grow about 2 feet on average, but could be anywhere between 1.5 feet to 3 feet. They are very shy creatures and are usually found underneath rocks and thick growths.
  • Mexican Milk Snake: This eye-catching beauty has dark-red crossbands, with deep yellow and black intermittent bands to accentuate the red coloration. Mexico and the southwestern parts of Texas see the breeding grounds of these serpents. Length of the Mexican milk snake body could be anywhere between 2 and 2.5 feet. They possess glossy black heads and tails.
  • Utah Milk Snake: They look slightly different from the other red-banded milk snakes in the sense that Utah milk snakes appear to be more orange than red. They have bright black and white bands as usual, and their necks and parts of their snout are white. They could grow anywhere between 1.5 and 2 feet. Desert scrubs and sandy soils are their favorite habitats.
  • Coastal Plains Intergrade Milk Snake: They are not actually a subspecies but a hybrid between the Eastern Milk Snakes and Scarlet Kingsnakes. This intergrade population consists of bright red snakes that have red snouts instead of the usual black snouts. They can grow up to 2.5 feet in body length. They are abundant in Maryland, and are restricted in the coastal plains.

Medium-Sized Milk Snakes

Source: @doctor_arroyo

Medium-Sized Milk Snakes (3 To 4 Feet)

  • Nelson Milk Snake: They appear quite different from the traditional red-black-white tri-banded milk snakes in the sense that they are affected by a condition called albinism where they cannot produce sufficient amounts of melanin. They could be 3.5 feet long and are found in Guanajuato and Jalisco in Mexico. They primarily feed on rodents but will occasionally feed on other snakes.
  • Jalisco Milk Snake: One of the finest looking milksnakes would be the Jalisco milk snakes. They stand out from the other milk snakes because they are not tri-banded, instead they are mostly dark orange with beautiful circular black patterns on their body. They grow up to 4 feet in length and frequent the pine woodlands and mesquite grasslands of Mexico.
  • Dixon’s Milk Snake: They got their name after the renowned Dr James R. Dixon, a famous author on herpetology. They have 20 red rings and 5 yellow ones around their tail region, the red bands being the widest. The rest of the body is black. They can have a body length of 3.5 feet. They inhabit the mountains and valleys of Queretaro Jalapa Valley in Mexico.
  • Pacific Central American Milk Snake: They appear bright red at a glance, with narrow black and white bands that run intermittently all along their elongated exterior. The red bands are the widest. They are found in the river floodplains of Costa Rica. They grow up to 3.5 feet in length and are often found sliding across muddy terrains that are covered in small bushy growths.
  • Conant’s Milk Snake: They are a classic looking milk snake with bright red crossbands, accentuated with the presence of black and white bands at regular intervals. The white bands could sometimes be a brilliant orange depending on habitats. Guerrero and Oaxaca, Mexico see these awesome 4-feet long snakes wriggling about in the elevated highlands of the country.
  • Sinaloan Milk Snake: In the semi-arid lands of Sinaloa, Mexico lie the habitat of the Sinaloan milk snakes. Sinaloans are predominantly a bright red subspecies with black and white crossbands, and a black snout. They grow between 3 and 4 feet in size and have beautiful albino morphs in their family. Their diet mainly consists of rodents and invertebrates.

Milk Snake Size: Medium And Large-Sized Milk Snakes

Milk snakes could be much longer than 4 feet. Not only that, there are certain subspecies that have the classic tri-banded appearance when they are juveniles, but metamorph as they grow!

Larger Milk Snakes

Source: @evesexoticpets

Larger Milk Snakes (5 To 7 Feet)

  • Guatemalan Milk Snake: The tropical climate of Yucatan peninsula, Mexico witnesses the habitat of the Guatemalan milk snakes. They look amazing with their red-black-yellow tri-banded appearance and can grow to about 5 feet in length. Lizards, insects, slugs, amphibians, rodents and other snakes make up the diet of these beautiful milk snake subspecies.
  • Eastern Milk Snake: They come in two colors– the northern areas have a brownish-green appearance, whereas the southern specimens are more reddish. The greenish one has white rectangular bands all over the snake’s body, edged in black. They are common in Maine, Minnesota and Connecticut. These milk snakes could be anywhere between 2 and 5 feet.
  • Atlantic Central American Milk Snake: Found in the arid to semi-arid habitats of Mexico, these milk snakes look like the classic milk snakes with a tri-banded look, with the red bands wider than the black and white bands. They are also called West Mexican milk snakes and can grow about 5 feet long. They can be seen on grasslands and in wooded areas.
  • Andean Milk Snake: How big do milk snakes get? Well, you would be amazed to know that Andean milk snakes can grow up to a whopping 6 feet! They have an ol’ school milk snake appearance with a black-white-red tri-banded coloration. They can be found in the Andes Mountains of Colombia and Venezuela, frequenting altitudes of above 9000 feet.
  • Black Milk Snake: There is an interesting explanation behind their name. When they hatch out of their eggs, they have the classic milk snake tri-banded appearance. However, as they mature, they become darker, and by the time they are 2 years old, they are completely black. They grow up to a menacing 6 feet 4 inches, and sometimes up to 7 feet in body length!

Milk Snake Size: How To Take Care Of Small And Large Milk Snakes?

Taking Care Of Small And Large Milk Snakes

Source: @ar_colubridae

Contrary to popular belief, milk snakes do not feel extremely comfortable in gigantic terrariums. At the same time, if the enclosure is too cramped, it would not be happy in it either. There is no rule of thumb, but milk snakes that are 3 feet long are happy in a 20-gallon tank. Milk snakes between 3 and 4 feet long need a 30-gallon tank, whereas a 40-gallon tank would be best for milk snakes that grow longer than 4 feet, like Andean milk snakes.

A glass enclosure would be amazing for your pet milk snake in the sense that a lot of light will pour through and you would be able to see the whereabouts of your favorite critter. However, glass does not retain heat that well, so you might want to get a wooden terrarium. Plastic is a good alternative too since it is much cheaper and more light-weight.

Maintenance of heating and humidity levels is crucial to research a lot about their habitat before getting a terrarium. For example, Andean milk snakes are habituated to living in colder climates, whereas Mexican milk snakes are used to living in drier and hotter climates. Nevertheless, a 85 to 90°F temperature and a 40 to 70% humidity level are good enough for all milk snakes.

Milk Snake Size: How Do Organs Fit Inside Their Slender Body?

A snake has all the organs that are present in a mammalian body that work together to keep the critter alive. However, it is truly a marvel to think that all these organs fit inside the narrow and tube-like body of a snake. In order to fit inside the small and slender body, all glands and organs are tube-shaped too. The lungs, stomach, liver, intestines, and even kidneys, are all elongated.

In order for large prey to be swallowed whole, snakes have highly extensible jaws and superbly expandible ribs. The jaws and ribs open up outward so as to accommodate a large prey being pushed down the gut. In addition to that, snakes have extraordinarily flexible muscles and skin that stretch and come back to their original form. They are truly wonderful creatures!


How big do milk snakes get? Well you would be amazed to know that while the average length of milk snakes could be between 2 and 4 feet, some subspecies could be about 7 feet long! Take the black milk snake or Andean milk snakes, for instance.

If you are thinking about getting a pet milk snake, milk snake size would be an important aspect to take into consideration. A 20 gallon tank for 3 feet long milk snakes would be perfect, while for snakes like black milk snakes, you may have to get a 40-gallon one. Milk snake size is perfect to play around with– they do not look intimidating at all and are truly adorable.

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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