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Sinaloan Milksnake

Lampropeltis triangulum sinaloae


Colubridae, the colubrid snake family.

Conservation Status:



Southwest Sonora, Sinaloa, and southwest Chihuahua in Mexico


Arid and semi-desert rocky areas with sparse vegetation


The milk snake got its name from an Old World folk tale that tells of the snake sucking the milk of nursing cows until they are dry. This is impossible because the snake lacks the anatomy necessary to suck milk (or anything else for that matter). Also, the snake’s belly could only hold a few tablespoons of milk.

The Sinaloan milk snake is red with triple bands of black and cream or yellow – a thin yellow or cream band is sandwiched between black bands on either side. The red bands are broad – about three times the width of the black and yellow triple bands. The underside is yellow or creamy white. The head is black with a thin yellow or cream band across the top of the head.

Milk snakes use sight, touch, and smell to perceive their environment. They may use chemical cues to detect sex during their spring mating. Another adaptation to avoid death by predator is its coloration. Many of the milk snake subspecies practice Batesian mimicry. Their color patterns look similar to either those of the venomous copperhead or the coral snake. Again, this adaptation can also mean death for the snake when encountering humans who can’t tell the difference.

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