Eastern Milk Snake

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What does the eastern milk snake look like?

The eastern milk snake is a slender snake measuring between 24” inches and 36” inches. One may be rarely found up to 42” inches. They are grayish or tannish in color with blotches of brownish or reddish brown. There are smaller blotches on either side and larger blotches on the center back. The blotches have blackish edges. The belly has a checkerboard pattern and some will have a “Y” or “V” shaped light patch behind the head. This species is sometimes confused with the northern copperhead, and red corn snake. Juveniles tend to be lighter and get darker as they age.

Where is the eastern milk snake found in Montgomery County?

The eastern milk snake is found in Potomac, Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Poolesville, Damascus, Rockville, Germantown, Gaithersburg, and Olney. This species of snake has been removed by Montgomery County snake experts from backyards, sheds, outbuildings, and crawlspaces. They are found under landscape rocks in flowerbeds, under debris, under firewood, under trash piles, in tree stumps, and wood piles. They can burrow a few inches underground in loose soil, mulch or sandy soil or soft wood (rotted wood).

What animals pray of the eastern milk snake?

Birds of prey such as owls and hawks will feed on the eastern milk snake. Other wildlife like raccoons, coyotes, fox, opossums and other snakes will also feed on this species.

Is the eastern milk snake venomous?

The eastern milk snake is not venomous but it will bite if you try to pick it up. They are known to replicate rattlesnakes by vibrating the tip of their tail in stones or vegetation to frighten off predators.

What does the eastern milk snake eat?

The eastern milk snake will eat small birds, bird eggs, mice and other small rodents, lizards, and other snakes. They are constrictors so they kill their predator by squeezing the air out of it lungs until it suffocates. Eastern milk snakes are a constrictor which means they rap their body (in coils) around the prey and suffocate it before swallowing it whole.

What are the habits of the eastern milk snake?

Eastern milk snakes are typically a solitary snake. This species can burrow and they spend much of their time underground. This ground or soil must be loose like mulch or rotted wood or a sandy soil. They are not able to burrow into concrete or hard ground.

What are the hibernation habits of the eastern milk snake?

The eastern milk snake hibernates from October to April in the Montgomery County Area. If spring is early then they may emerge from hibernation in late March. They will hibernate in groundhog burrows or other mammal burrows that have been abandoned. They will also hibernate in hollow logs, old wells, old buildings, and the foundations of homes. The hibernation den must maintain the right amount of moisture to prevent the snake from drying out over the winter.

What are the reproduction habits of the eastern milk snake?

The eastern milk snake mates in the springtime after emerging from the winter hibernation. In June or July the female will lay between 4 and 12 whitish colored eggs under rocks, in a log or in rotted wood. Eastern milk snake eggs have been found under firewood, debris and trash in back yards across Montgomery County. Several females will lay their eggs in the same location. In August or September 4” inch to 8” inch babies will emerge. Once the babies are born they are on their own but generally stay in the same area they were born for the first two years.

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