Range: Sonora to Sinaloa,
Rio Fuerte and into southwestern Chihuahua, Mexico
Size: 48 inches
Lifespan: 10-15 years
average; max 20 years
Habitat: Pacific coastal
lowlands below 3300 feet, abundant around edges of cornfields
Captive Care: 20H or
15 gallon aquarium with escape-proof screen lid, normal indirect window
lighting sufficient; substrate (like to burrow) sand, small smooth gravel,
wood chips (not cedar) pine shavings, aspen bedding, (maybe one-half side
dry moss); hiding spots at both ends of temperature gradient, can be a
simple as folded sheets of paper
Ophiophagus (snake eating) -> house separately!
Temp. gradient 75-88F ( if temperature is constant 84-86F)
ventral heat prefered, milksnakes dont bask so using light to provide
heat is inappropriate
Foods: mice (pinky, fuzzy, adult, depending on size of snake)
always feed separately
hatchlings(after first shed): pinky mouse (show small lump), once/week
adult: male: one meal/week (may not eat during mating season)
female: 2 times per week for breeders, but smaller prey items
some dont eat when gravid, but still offer prey frequently
stop feeding two weeks before brumation
some individuals may be problems feeders: place in small, clean, dry cage,
provide temperature gradient of 75-88F using sub-tank heat source, provide
clean drinking water, an appropriate substrate and multiple hiding spots.
at 2 years
brumation: 50-55F, November 1 to March 1 start brumating during second
March 1 -> warm to 80F, feed ~ 1 week later, then keep in pairs 1 day
sperm can be stored for up to 1 year
pre-egg lay she -> eggs laid 6-10 days later
feed gravid females and post-egg-laying females smaller food items
within 3 days of egg laying put male back in for second clutch
breeding age: 2 to 10 years
breeding to egg laying: 26 to 49 days
clutch size: 4 to 16, average 9
incubation: 58 to 76 days @ 82-85F (78 to 88 F acceptable)
Applegate, Robert (1992) The General Care and Maintenance of Milk Snakes.
Advanced Vivarium Systems, Inc. Lakeside, CA 92040.
Markel, Ronald (1990) King Snakes and Milksnakes. T.F.H. publications,
Inc., Neptune City, NJ. 144pp.
Markel, Ronald and Bartlett, R. D. (1995) King Snakes and Milksnakes.
Barrons Educational Series, Inc. Hauppauge, NY. 94pp.
Markel, Ronald (1997) King Snakes and Milksnakes from alterna to zonata.
Reptiles USA Annual pp. 107-119.