milk snake

Eastern Milk Snake

(Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum)

NH Conservation Status: Not Listed

State Rank Status: Widespread and secure

Distribution: Throughout NH except far northern regions.

Description: A slender-bodied snake ranging from 24-36 inches. There are heavy red or reddish-brown blotches over a gray base along the top and a black-on-white checkerboard pattern on the belly. Often has a Y shaped light spot on the top of the head.

Commonly Confused Species: Timber Rattlesnake; Copperhead (not a NH species), Corn snake (not a NH species)

Habitat: Found in a variety of habitats including fields, farmland, woodlands, and rocky hillsides. May also be found in barns or old basements with stone foundations. Uses logs, stones, boards, or trash piles for cover.

Life History: Lays 6-24 eggs during summer in soils piles or under logs, boards, or trash piles. Diet fluctuates depending on habitat and may include small mammals, snakes, amphibians, and eggs. Milk snakes may shake their tails rapidly, often sounding like a rattle.

Conservation Threats: People killing individual snakes because of fear.

Distribution map: Click here for a map showing the towns where this species is reported to occur in NH

milk snake
milk snake
A key characteristic of milk snakes is the light tan ‘Y’ or ‘V’ on the head. The point of the ‘V’ or ‘Y’ points towards the tail. (Photo by Mike Marchand)
Milk snakes are slender, often brightly patterned, and can approach 4 feet in length. Milk snakes are not venomous. (Photo by Mike Marchand)
milk snake
corn snake
Milk snakes will not hesitate to eat other snakes. In this case, a young milk snake is swallowing a large brown snake. (Photo by Rosemary Conroy)
Corn snakes may appear similar in appearance to milk snakes. Corn snakes tend to be a brighter orange. Corn snakes are not native to New Hampshire. You should never release your pet corn snake to the wild! (Photo by Mike Marchand)
milk snake
milk snake
Milk snakes often seek shelter under rocks or logs. (Photo by Mike Marchand)
Note the tapered tail of the milk snake. (Photo by Brendan Clifford)
milk snake
Note the black and white checkerboard pattern of the milk snake belly. (Photo by Mike Marchand)


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NH Fish and Game Dept.
11 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301

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