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The eastern milk snake is a true constrictor. It usually throws several loops of its muscular body around its prey. These coils do not crush, but merely exert enough pressure to prevent breathing. The victim soon suffocates and is then swallowed whole. They should be considered an asset, worthy of protection on anyone’s property.
They are a species of kingsnake. Milk snakes and kingsnakes belong to the genus Lampropeltis. In Greek, this means “shiny shields.” The name is appropriate for the genus, which is known for its well-defined, glossy scales.
The belly has a black and white checkerboard pattern. A Y-shaped or V-shaped light-colored blotch is usually present on the nape of the neck.The Eastern milk snake can grow to be up to 2 or 3 feet in length.
They eastern milk snake typically feeds on voles, mice and rats, birds, bird eggs, lizards, snake eggs, or even other snakes.
Distribution And Habitat
Eastern milk snakes are commonly encountered throughout Ohio in a variety of habitats, including woods, meadows, and river bottoms–even within cities, where they occasionally enter buildings in search of mice. Their frequent occurrence in rodent-infested barns led to the fallacy that they milk cows by night; hence the name milk snake. These secretive snakes usually move about at night and spend the day hiding beneath objects such as logs, rocks, and old boards.
The snake’ eggs are usually laid in a rotting log or in humus. The young that emerge are brightly colored, but the color dulls as the snakes age. Breeding takes place in April, May, and June, and the gestation period of the 2 to 17 eggs is 28 to 39 days.
The snake is generally docile and rarely attempts to bite, though may attempt to do so if feeling restrained or threatened.