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Species Description- Eastern Milk Snake
Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum

Eastern Milksnake
Eastern Milk Snake
Lampropeltis t. triangulum
Bradford County, PA

Identification- 20-40" (51-102 cm) A large shiny snake with smooth scales. A light Y or V shaped marking on the back of the neck may be partly obscured. Color variable, but ground color tan, brown, or gray with numerous black bordered copper or red saddles down the back. Smaller saddles on sides. Ventral surface is white and black "checkerboard pattern. Single anal plate.
    Similar Species- Young Rat Snakes and Racers have a blotched pattern, but lack Y shaped marking and have divided anal plates. Water Snakes have strongly keeled scales. Copperheads are very heavy bodied, have a triangular shaped head, and elliptical pupils (round in the Milk Snake). Also, the belly of the Copperhead is unpatterned.

Range- Found throughout our range.
 
Eastern Milk Snake Range Map- NY
Eastern Milk Snake Range Map- PA

Habitat- Varied. Most likely to be found in open areas or recently disturbed woodlands. Rocky wooded hillsides with an open canopy hold high concentrations of this species.

Reproduction- Emerges mid to late April, mates in the spring. 5-20 elliptical eggs are laid in June to July. Several females may share a nest. This may be due to a lack of suitable nest sites. Young hatch in August or September and measure 5-10" (12.7-25 cm) at birth. The young may not feed before hibernation.

Eastern Milksnake
Eastern Milk Snake
Lampropeltis t. triangulum
Bradford County, PA

General Characteristics-
Milk Snakes are beneficial snakes. The preferred food of the adults is rodents, which they eat in large numbers. The Eastern Milk Snake is not an uncommon species, but are somewhat secretive. They, along with Water Snakes, are commonly mistaken for Copperheads and killed out of fear. When threatened Milk Snakes will flee, but if cornered they will hold their ground and strike fearlessly. They also vibrate their tails against the ground, creating a rattling sound. This behavior is common among harmless snakes, and many people mistake them for rattlesnakes. Although the behavior is not a mimic of rattlesnakes, it is a warning behavior nonetheless. Eastern Milk Snakes are constrictors, suffocating their prey before swallowing it. Along with rodents Milk Snakes eat birds, lizards, slugs, insects, and other snakes.


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