- Scientific Name: Lampropeltis triangulum
- Lifespan: Approximately 15 years based on care
- Handling: Milk snakes are usually very tame and are very tolerable towards being handled. As always, try to stay away from handling your snake for two days after feeding to assure proper digestion.
- Size: Up to 4 – 6 feet
- Care: Easy
- Community: You should never house more than one Milk Snake together as Milk Snakes sometimes are cannibalistic.
- Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.
The size tank depends on the size of your milk snake. Below are two tank sizes that you will be needing for juvenile and adult milk snakes.
- Baby and Juveniles: 10 – 20 gallon tank is recommended
- Adults: 40 gallon tank is recommended
Remember, no enclosure is too large for a milk snakes. Larger is always better!
Note: Lids and lid locks are necessary due to the fact that Milk Snakes can and will try to get out of the tank on occasion. If you do not have lid locks, simply put a heavy object on the corners of the lid.
Milk Snakes need two hides. One being on the warm side of the tank, and the other being on the cool side of the tank. This gives your Milk Snake an option to sleep in an area to warm up or cool down. Having only one hide in an enclosure limits your snake to where he can sleep. You may add foliage to add a naturalistic look and comfort for your snake. You may use live or fake plants. Live pants help with humidity levels, but also need special lighting to thrive. You are also going to have to trim the live plants every now and then to avoid your plants from taking over the enclosure. But if reaching certain humidity levels is a problem, live plants will definitely help. A water bowl is also a necessity to allow your Milk Snake to hydrate him/herself when needed. The water bowl should be large enough for your snake to soak in.
Lighting and Heating
Milk Snakes do not need a UVB bulb. All they need is a source of heat through a heat lamp or a heat pad (which goes on from the outside of the tank, not the inside). Some people use heat rocks, but it is not recommended due to some incidents of a few snakes getting burned on their underside from using them. Sometimes heat rocks just get too hot.
When measuring temperatures, it’s best to use digital thermometers. Dial thermometers tend to give off inaccurate measurements.
Cool side: 78 – 80 °F
Warm side: 85 – 88 °F
No lights are necessary. The temperatures should be between 70 – 75 °F. If it is too cold to achieve this temperature without lights, I recommend using a heat emitter or a reptile infrared heat light. Make sure to check temps at night, to reassure the temps are good.
Feeding & Diet
Frozen & Thawed Mice or Rats
Here at clubfauna, we strive for the most humane feedings possible, which is why you should try frozen feeders first. Feeding frozen (pre-killed) rodents will benefit you, the feeder, and the milk snake. It will benefit you because you won’t have to keep going to the store to buy live feeders or deal with a living rodent if your snake isn’t hungry. It will benefit your snake by allowing your milk snake to easily consume the prey without a struggle (some rodents bite and scratch). Lastly, it will benefit the feeder by not having to endure a painful death. Obviously, the choice to feed frozen & thawed vs live rodents is up to you, but please take all the benefits into consideration when deciding.
Frozen meals should be warmed according to the package directions. You may feed them by using long tongues and dangling the mice/rat to imitate movement. This method can decrease the aggression build up in a milk snake making him less aggressive.
Live Mice or Rats
You can throw the live feeder into the tank and let the milk snake attack it on its own or you can dangle the live feeder by its tail using tongues or your hand (if you’re experienced) and let the snake attack it that way. However, this method has a downfall. Live feeders have a tendency like any other living thing that’s being eaten, to do everything possible to get away. This can cause harm or discomfort to your milk snake. The live feeder may scratch your milk snakes face with its nails or even try to bite your milk snake.
If in 20 minutes, the feeder has not been eaten, the milk snake will usually not eat it that day. Never leave a feeder in a milk snakes enclosure for a longer period of time or overnight. This could cause harm, stress, and problems to your milk snake. Simply remove the feeder to its separate enclosure along with food and water, and try again in three days.
Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Humidity is very important for milk snakes when they are going into shed. Normally, you would want to have the enclosure with a 40-60% humidity level. During shed, you should keep the enclosure with a 60% humidity level. The increase in humidity will help the snake shed its skin easier and better. You can easily measure the humidity percentages by using a digital hygrometer (humidity gauge). Dial hygrometers tend to give off inaccurate measurements.
Hydration is a must. One way to provide hydration is to put a water bowl in your milk snakes enclosure. Make sure to choose one that is big enough for your snake to submerge itself in, if it wants to.
Unprinted newspaper and paper towels may be used as a cheap substrate. Repti bark, cypress mulch, and coconut husk are other alternatives to add a little more naturalistic look to the enclosure. However, it is a little more expensive. But, this will help with the more “at home” feeling for your milk snake. It will also help with humidity levels. Sand is not recommended as a substrate.
Note: The information on this milk snake care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care.