Pueblan Milk Snake

Pueblan Milk Snake


05.18.2006 - I received a call about a Coral Snake in someone's patio. Red, black, and yellow bands, I was told, along with a black nose.  That's a sure description of a Coral, and out I sped to remove the dangerous snake.  I showed up to the house, but as is often the case, the snake had left by the time I arrived.  I hate that.  I had to drop everything and make a long drive out to the house, and now it had vacated.  I scrounged around inside the patio and found nothing, and so I concluded that it must have slithered out the same way it came in, probably through a gap under the patio door.  I made a last-ditch effort to search outside, but experience has told me that once a snake has vacated a scene, there's no finding it.  Well, amazingly, next to the house only a few feet from the patio, I saw this snake slithering off.  I was perplexed by its appearance, as I'd never seen a snake like it.  I treated it with caution and grabbed it with my padded snake tongs and bagged it.

I thought that it was a Scarlet King Snake.  The shape, size, and color certainly matched.  However, it wasn't quite the same, and the most easily identifiable difference was the black nose, as opposed to red.  I took a few photos of the snake before I released it, and posted them online as a Scarlet King, perhaps with a modified nose color. 

Someone quickly notified me of my mistake, and told me that I'd caught a Pueblan Milk Snake, Lampropeltis triangulum campbelli, also known as the Campbell's Milk Snake. These snakes are common pets, and it's easy to see why, given their pretty color and docile nature. They are native to southern Mexico. I don't know if such a snake could survive the Orlando winter or not, or if the habitat here is suitable. It's anyone's guess as to how long the snake had been in the wild. This was yet another released or escaped pet snake. I always suspect release, when the lazy pet owner no longer wants to care for the pet, but this snake was such a strong and crafty climber, plus it escaped from the original patio, that I believe it might have been an escapee. I was excited to catch it, as it was a new species to me, though I'd usually rather get a new native snake than an exotic.

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The Pueblan Milk Snake is a snake that you often see in captivity, although they also thrive in the wild. Here's everything you need to know about the common snake.

The Pueblan Milk Snake has a very distinctive appearance, one that you've probably seen before. It has a tri-color pattern of red, white, and black bands. It actually looks similar to the Coral snake, which helps it avoid some of its predators. The Coral snake is venomous, so it's a warning to predators to stay away. To ascertain if the snake is a Pueblan Milk Snake, look for wide white bands, as well the black tipping over the red bands. However, there are some variations in their coloring, depending on the exact breed of snake. They will usually grow to around 2 – 4 feet in length.

These snakes are most commonly found in southern Puebla, from where they get their name. They can also be found in eastern Morelos and northern Oaxaca, Mexico. They usually reside under rocks, in logs, and in burrows during the day.

The snake is nocturnal, coming out at night when it's cooler to do so. They're a solitary species, so if you see one in the wild you won't normally find more nearby. However, they do enter into communal burrows to undertake brumation in colder weather. This is to help them survive cold temperatures.

The snakes will typically breed in late spring, into summer. They will lay anywhere between two to fourteen eggs, in areas that are warm and humid. This could be in rotting wood, or under rocks. The snakes don't provide any parental care, and so will leave once the eggs are laid.

The eggs hatch in one to two months' time, and the hatchlings measure only a few inches long. They're very brightly colored at birth, but get more muted as they grow older.

The Pueblan Milk Snake will usually eat anything that it can overpower. This will include rodents, birds, lizards, snakes, frogs, and even other snakes. It does this by constricting it until the blood flow to its heart is stopped, and then it swallows it whole. As they eat mainly rodents, they're vital to rodent control in the areas they live in.

These snakes have been shown to do very well in captivity. You're more likely to find one as a pet in someone's home than in the wild.

To keep a Pueblan Milk Snake, you'll need to be able to keep it at a temperature of around 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, that temperature needs to drop 5 to 10 degrees. It's vital to control the temperature this way, as it helps the snake's feeding response and digestion.

The tank they are kept in needs to be escape-proof and provide a hide box for the snake. They are more comfortable in confined spaces, so this is essential.

Now you know everything you need to know about the Pueblan Milk Snake. While more commonly found in captivity, they are found in the wild too and contribute to the ecosystems they live in. in captivity, they are found in the wild too, and contribute to the ecosystems they live in.

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