Eastern Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum) - Ohio Herp Atlas

Eastern Milksnake Lampropeltis triangulum

Eastern Milksnakes are commonly encountered throughout Ohio in a variety of habitats, including woods, meadows, and river bottoms – even within cities, where they occasionally enter buildings in search of mice. Their frequent occurrence in rodent- infested barns led to the fallacy that they milk cows by night; hence the name milksnake. These secretive snakes usually move about at night and spend the day hiding beneath objects such as logs, rocks, and old boards. When first encountered, the milksnake either remains motionless or attempts to crawl away. If thoroughly pestered, it may vibrate the tip of its tail rapidly and strike repeatedly. However, the teeth can barely puncture the skin. The belly has a black and white checkerboard pattern. A Y- shaped or V-shaped light-colored blotch is usually present on the nape of the neck. The milksnake is a true constrictor. It usually throws several loops of its muscular body around its prey. These coils do not crush but merely exert enough pressure to prevent breathing and stop the heart. The victim soon dies and is then swallowed whole. Like other members of the kingsnake group, milksnakes feed primarily upon mice and other small rodents, as well as smaller snakes. They should be considered an asset, worthy of protection on anyone’s property. LENGTH: 24”–36”

Text courtesy of the Ohio Division of Wildlife: https://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/portals/wildlife/pdfs/publications/id%20guides/pub354_Reptiles-opt.pdf

Distribution Map
Distribution map of Eastern Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum)
Photographs
Eastern Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum)
Eastern Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum)