Types Of Milk Snake

Types Of Milk Snake: Feast Your Eyes On These Gorgeous Snakes!

Who knew snakes could be cute and adorable? Well, you will share the same opinion when you lay your eyes on the pretty looking milk snakes. They are found all over the United States and Mexico, and because of their gentle and manageable nature, they are quite popular as pets.

There are 23 types of milk snake recognized at present and you would be amazed when you see the colors on each and every one of them. They are glossy and do not grow longer than 4 feet, well, usually! What are we waiting for then? Let’s jump right into the rocky crevices!

Types Of Milk Snake: A Complete List Of The Different Subspecies

Milk snakes are harmless colubrids that belong to the genus Lampropeltis. They all share a tri-banded look of red, black and white and look exquisite. They mostly grow between 2 and 4 feet while some subspecies may grow even longer. They are quite popular as pets.

If you are thinking of adopting a milk snake, you may be wondering how it behaves and what it eats. They are usually quite docile in nature but the little ones could be slightly feisty. Because of their appearance, they are often mistaken as the venomous copperheads. There are about 23 known subspecies of milk snakes! Let’s know more about each one of them.

Eastern Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Triangulum)

Eastern Milk Snake

Source: @snake_n_snek

One of the most classic looking milk snake subspecies are the eastern milk snakes. Thriving in the eastern parts of the United States, from Maine to North Carolina and Alabama, these snakes are often spotted wriggling around in the rural areas or near human settlements. These snakes are usually shy and nocturnal, but they seldom visit forest edges and open woodlands.

Eastern milk snakes grow anywhere between 2 and 5 feet having the classic tri-banded look with the colors red, white and black, with the red crossbands being saddle-shaped. As one goes south, they see different color variations of this subspecies, where the snake may appear muddier or maroonish. They prey on mammals, lizards, invertebrates, and other snakes.

Sinaloan Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Sinaloae)

Sinaloan Milk Snake

Source: @envy_reptiles

Sinaloan milk snakes are named so because they are native to the rocky and semi-arid desert-like conditions of Sinaloa region, Mexico. Like most other milk snakes, Sinaloan milk snakes are quite shy and spend most of their diurnal hours hiding within rock crevices or under cacti plants. They come out at night to forage on rodents, birds eggs, and reptiles like lizards.

The Sinaloan milk snakes have a classic tri-banded red, white and black look, with the red bands being much wider, brighter, and predominant. Their heads are mostly black with white scales at the neck. They do not grow very long, reaching lengths between 3 and 4 feet. They reproduce between May and June laying about 5 to 15 eggs per clutch.

Nelson Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Nelsoni

Nelson Milk Snake

Source: @cobraselagartosalmada

To honor the now late American naturalist Edward W. Nelson, this milk snake has been named. Nelson milk snakes are albino milk snakes, and owing to their inability to produce sufficient melanin in their body, they appear more white than usual. They lack the black bands completely and the red bands appear more pink than red. They grow between 3 and 3.5 feet only.

Nelson milk snakes frequent the moisture-laden habitats in and around the Guanajuato and Jalisco Islands of Mexico. They can be found in agricultural fields as well where irrigation is going on. Rodents, small birds, their eggs, small amphibians, and other snakes fall within the diet of these subspecies. Nelson milk snakes have a natural tolerance of venom.

Honduran Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Hondurensis)

Honduran Milk Snake

Source: @jaredlloydphoto

Honduran milk snakes are one of the larger subspecies of milk snakes that can reach a length of about 5 feet which is quite unusual among milk snakes since they usually grow up to 4 feet. They frequent the wilderness of Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica and can be found mostly on higher elevations. They lay about 3 to 18 eggs per clutch between June and September.

Honduran milk snakes are blood red in appearance, with thinner yellow (or white) and black crossbands running intermittently on the red base. They have a blackish orange snout and black tail tips. In certain morphs the yellow crossbands could be dark orange in color. They are quite opportunistic in dietary preferences and mostly eat other snakes, lizards, rodents and birds.

Black Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Gaigeae)

Black Milk Snake

Source: @reptile.queen

One of the most attractive features of black milk snakes is that they are black in color! Most other milk snakes flaunt a tri-banded red, black and white appearance, whereas black milk snakes have a knight-in-shining-armor body. However, when they are hatchlings they bear the same classic tri-banded appearance. By the time they are 2 years old, they have a black body.

Black milk snakes are the longest and the largest in the Lampropeltis triangulum family. They can grow large in body circumference, and can elongate to a length of a whopping 7 feet! The highlands above 6000 to 7000 feet of Costa Rica and Panama find the wriggling forms of black snakes foraging about or exploring. They mostly eat mice, amphibians, and reptile eggs.

Red Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Syspila)

Red Milk Snake

Source: @nonesoherpetological

Red milk snakes are redder than most other milk snakes in the sense that their red crossbands are blood red, and they have a large red blotch on their head edged with a thin black outline. They are found in almost all states running diagonally across the United States including Kentucky, South Dakota, Kansas and Oklahoma. They grow between 2 and 4 feet.

Milk snakes are famous for a checkered pattern on their belly and red milk snakes are no exception. They show color variations as one moves from one state to another and right now they have orange and maroonish alternative looks. Rodents and other reptiles, including lizards and other snakes make up a large portion of their diet. They forage nocturnally.

Pueblan Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Campbelli)

Pueblan Milk Snake

Source: @predatorsreptilecenter

Pueblan milk snakes are, like the red milk snakes, of a medium body length ranging between 3 and 4 feet maximum. You guessed it right, they thrive in Southern Puebla and Northern Oaxaca of Mexico. They have been named after the famous American herpetologist Jonathan A. Campbell. Dry and desert areas of Mexico are the famous hunting grounds of these Pueblans.

So how are Pueblan milk snakes different from the other milk snakes? These wriggling beauties have wider white bands than most other milk snakes. Their black and red bands are much narrower, with the red crossbands being incredibly vibrant. In order to defend themselves in the wild, they mimic the venomous rattlesnakes and coral snakes which keep predators at bay.

Mexican Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Annulata)

Mexican Milk Snake

Source: @popmilk_herping

Northeastern Mexico and some parts of the United States, such as Texas, see the thriving population of Mexican milk snakes. Needless to say, these milk snakes are indigenous to Mexico. Mexican milk snakes are used to living in the hot and semi-arid desert climate of Mexico and primarily rely on lizards, rodents and other snakes for their survival.

Brushy-growth covered areas and sandy soils are frequented by these wrigglers. They are mostly crepuscular and nocturnal by nature and spend most of their daytime hours basking or staying hidden within rock crevices and under cacti plants for protection against heat. Mother Mexican milk snakes lay about 4 to 10 eggs in the spring season that hatch after 2-2.5 months.

Albino Milk Snake

Albino Milk Snake

Source: @coldbloodcreations

Albino milk snakes are not a separate subspecies of milk snakes but they are morphs of certain subspecies that produce little to no melanin in their body, thus appearing white or pinkish white. Sinaloan milk snakes, Honduran milk snakes, and Nelson milk snakes have albino morphs. Nelson milk snakes, as previously discussed, are albino by birth.

Andean Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Andesiana)

Andean Milk Snake

Source: @louisianamilkdude

One of the most eye-catching subspecies that thrive in the alpine environment of Colombia and Venezuela are the Andean milk snakes. They wriggle about at 9000 feet altitude of the Andes Mountains. They have various color morphs among which the orange and red versions stand out, with narrower black and white bands. Some specimens can grow up to 6 feet!

Guatemalan Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Abnorma)

Guatemalan Milk Snake


Source: @jbhewlettwild

In the wilderness and rocky crevices of Guatemala, Central America, one can witness the slithering serpent of subspecies abnorma. Guatemalan milk snakes have glossy and wide red bands, with orange and black intermittent crossbands. They have glistening black snouts with bright orange neck-bands. They may have yellow or white bands too, in place of orange ones.

Louisiana Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Amaura)

Louisiana Milk Snake

Source: @snake_n_snek

In Texas and Louisiana, one of the most abundantly found subspecies of milk snakes are the Louisiana milk snakes. They are predominantly red in color, with narrower black and white bands. They grow between 16 and 24 inches and are mostly nocturnal, hiding or basking in most of the diurnal hours. They mimic the venomous coral snakes to keep predators at bay.

Jalisco Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Arcifera)

Jalisco Milk Snake

Source: @louisianamilkdude

Jalisco milk snakes can be found in, you guessed it, Jalisco, Mexico. They can also be seen within the wilderness of Guerrero, Morelos, Queretaro and Hidalgo. Subtropical shrubs, woodlands, mesquite grasslands, and rocky habitats are frequented by this subspecies of milk snakes. They are terrestrial and active both at daytime and night-time, but mostly nocturnal.

Blanchard’s Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Blanchardi)

Blanchard's Milk Snake

Blanchard’s milk snakes are redder than red, with orange and black intermittent crossbands. Thorn scrubs and grasslands are their favorite place to forage and hide in. They are mostly nocturnal, like most other milk snakes, and spend most of the sun-lit hours maintaining a low profile within wooden crevices and inside barn-sheds. They grow between 3 and 4 feet.

New Mexico Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Celaenops)

New Mexico Milk Snake

Source: @julestwyman

New Mexico milk snakes can have various morphs from one locality to another. Some look more orange than red, and black and white morphs exist too. The black and white morphs do not possess red crossbands. They are found in West-Central Texas and Trans Pecos, frequenting rocky grasslands and thorny, scrubby plants. They are shy by nature and mostly nocturnal.

Conant’s Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Conanti)

Conant's Milk Snake

Conant’s milk snakes have a classic red, black and white tri-banded appearance like most other milk snakes. The white bands could be yellow or orange depending on the locality it is found in. They can be seen wriggling about in the Sierra Madre del sure of Guerrero and Oaxaca, Mexico. They are quite docile and friendly and are cherished as pets in people’s homes.

Dixon’s Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Dixoni)

Dixon's Milk Snake

Source: @hartono_kuma.reptiles

One of the prettiest looking milk snakes are Dixon’s milk snakes. They have glistening bodies with uniform-sized red, yellow (or orange) and black crossbands adorned on their bodies. There is a pale shade of yellow band on their nape. Dixon’s milk snakes are found in San Luis Potosi and Querétaro Jalapa Valley of Mexico. These snakes like to hide within woodland debris.

Central Plains Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Gentilis)

Central Plains Milk Snake

Source: @bob_ferguson_fascinature

Central plains milk snakes, also known as western milk snakes, are found in North-Central Texas, High Plains, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas, among other places. Open prairies, limestone rock outcroppings, sandstones, and rocky mountains are their preferred habitats. They are mostly dependent on lizards for food, but they also like racerunners and voles.

Pale Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Multistriata)

Pale Milk Snake

Source: @herpguy

Pale milk snakes could grow anywhere between 16 and 32 inches, populating places like Central Nebraska, South Dakota and Montana. Intergrade hybrids are sometimes formed between this species and the Syspila species. These snakes are often spotted wriggling about open prairies. They are called pale milk snakes because their head is mostly white.

Pacific Central American Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Oligozona)

Pacific Central American Milk Snake

Source: @temporalis_enterprises

Wriggling about in the mountains and isthmus of Southern Chiapas and Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, Pacific Central American milk snakes are predominantly red in color, with white flecks around the nose and a thin band around the snout. However, the snouts and heads are mostly black. Intergrade versions with Conanti subspecies are available since the two mate at times.

Atlantic Central American Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Polyzona)

Atlantic Central American Milk Snake

Source: @louisianamilkdude

They have a very interesting looking exterior. Though the red and the black crossbands closely resemble that of the other milk snakes, the white bands look different. The white bands have crisscrosses of black and white running on them creating a checkerboard effect. The effect is present on their napes and cheeks too. They are highly popular as pets in the Atlantic Central.

Smith’s Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Smithi)

Smith's Milk Snake

Named after the famous American herpetologist Hobart Muir Smith, these beautiful snakes appear bright red in color, adorned with the classic looking black and white crossbands. Around some of the dorsal areas and tail segments, they may appear maroonish or brownish red. These snakes have been spotted in the wilderness of Hidalgo, Mexico which has a cool climate.

Stuart’s Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Stuarti)

Stuart's Milk Snake

Source: @tierraexotica

Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica see the wriggling bodies of Stuart’s milk snakes. They have wide red crossbands and a V-shaped mark, colored in white, on their napes. Dry tropical forests and coastal plains are frequented by these beautiful tri-banded snakes. They grow anywhere between 38 and 46 inches with their hatchlings about 8 to 10 inches in length.

Utah Milk Snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Taylori)

Utha Milk Snake

Source: @joelreep_prismatic

Utah milk snakes look quite different from other milk snakes. They are mostly black in appearance instead of the usual red. The red bands appear as bright red saddles and the white bands are much thinner. They are often found wriggling about or coiled on mountains.


Milk snakes are gorgeous snakes that are found all over North, Central and South American wilderness, rocky mountains and grasslands. They are mostly opportunistic and can survive in a wide range of climatic conditions and habitats. They are shy and docile and mostly nocturnal.

There are 23 types of milk snake known at present, and they are all subspecies of the Lampropeltis genus. They share a common trait of a tri-banded appearance with red, black and white being the dominant colors. They are quite popular as pets and loved by humans.

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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