eastern milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHARACTERISTICS: This is a moderate-sized, slender snake with

a blunt head that is only slightly wider than the neck. It grows to lengths

of 24-36 in. (61-90 cm). It has a tan or gray ground color and three to
five rows of reddish-brown, black-edged blotches. The center row of
blotches is the largest and alternates with smaller lateral blotches. There

is a gray or tan Y- or V-shaped mark just behind the head. The belly has

a black and white checkerboard pattern. The juvenile is similar to the

adult but has much redder blotches. This snake shows a lot of geo-

graphic variability in scale pattern, number of blotches, or number of

body rings. The females lay 4-12 eggs in rotting wood and beneath
rocks and logs, and the eggs hatch 2 to 2 1/2 months later. This is a
secretive burrower that spends most of its time underground or beneath
rocks, logs, stumps and boards.The maximum known age is 21 years 4
months and 18 days. Humans kill many individuals on the highways,
through destruction of habitat, and because of a slight resemblance to
the copperhead.

 

DISTRIBUTION: This snake occurs throughout the higher elevations

of western Virginia and in scattered locations in the piedmont and coastal
plain. In the lower elevations, it inhabits hillsides, wooded areas, open
fields, and stream and river floodplains. At higher elevations, this snake
is found in deciduous hardwoods, mixed pine-hardwoods, fields, grassy
balds, and rock outcrops and ledges. This snake is well-know for turning
up around barns and old buildings where mice are plentiful.

 

FOODS: The main foods of this species include small snakes, lizards and
mice. They will also take earthworms, insects and small frogs.

 

 

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