Eastern Milksnake

Lampropeltis triangulum (State Status: S3; vulnerable)

Description

Eastern (aka Red) Milksnakes are found in a wide range of the northeast US, and can be found in northeast MS and in the Mississippi River delta. Morphology is highly variable throughout their range; in Mississippi they are generally blotched red and cream color, with black outlining the red patterns. Snout is usually cream-colored, but may be red. Venter is usually white or cream with dark checkering. Habitats include rocky hillsides, bottomland hardwood forests, wetlands, and pine forests. They are highly secretive and usually only active at night. They may be found resting during the day beneath rocks and logs. Eastern Milksnakes eat small mammals, frogs, snakes, and lizards.

Adult Red Milksnake, Mississippi River Delta, MS, © McAulay Jaunsen

Identifying Traits

  • Light tan or white body with large red blotches surrounded by thin black border
  • Snout generally light, head cream or red color
Range

Habitat

Woodlands, bottomland hardwood forests

Behavior

Secretive, often under logs, bark etc during the day. Nocturnal

Diet

Eats small mammals, frogs, lizard, other snakes

A young milksnake from the floodplains of western Mississippi, © McAulay Jaunsen
Adult Red Milksnake found in a hardwood forest, Iowa. Adults may dull in color with age.
Young Red Milksnake from a small rocky slope, Central Iowa