Black Milk Snake

Name: Black Milk Snake
Scientific name: Lampropeltis triangulum gaigeae
Range: North America
Habitat: Farmlands, grasslands bordering woodlands, and rock outcroppings, especially near waterways.
Status: Not threatened
Diet in the wild: Mice, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, reptile eggs, birds and birds eggs
Diet in the zoo: Just regular size mice
Location in the zoo:  In the Herpetarium, the 3rd section with the coral snake bench. The last window, on the right at the bottom. It is right before you enter the Lizards section.
Physical description:

General information:

Milk snakes are constrictors and kill their food by suffocation. Milk snakes are so named because it was once believed that these snakes would enter barns and steal milk from cows. This is false; snakes only drink water. They would get sick if they were to drink milk. Snakes also have sharp teeth; no cow would stand still for that! The milk snakes were in the barns actually helping the farmers by looking for rodents to eat.

Special anatomical, physiological or behavioral adaptations:

See this link for pictures of juvenile coloration in this species.

The snakes are active from April to September. Mating takes place in spring early summer. The female lays about 10 eggs in an area that is selected for its high humidity and warmth. Incubation lasts from 28 to 39 days. In the fall the baby snakes hatch from their eggs. They are 5 to 10 inches at hatching and have the most spectacular coloration they will ever have. They also vibrate their tails and release musk.

Comments about the black milk snake of the Fort Worth Zoo:

The black milk snake was given to the Ft. Worth Zoo when it was a baby. It was born at another zoo. It has been part of the Ft. Worth Zoo for about 7 years now. They are really thankful to have this snake because it has bring joy and excitement to the zoo keeper.

Personal Observations:

When I stood there watching the Black Milk Snake, he really did not do much. he just lay there staring through the window at you. I stood there for a very long time, and he did nothing but stare. This is a type of animal that is more fun watching in the wild than in a closed up window.

Source Materials and Related Links:

Page author:{short description of image}Katrina Fishback

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