Discover Maryland's Herps

Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)

Sub-order Serpentes, Family Colubridae

Eastern Milksnake
Lampropeltis t. triangulum

Photo of Eastern Milksnake courtesy of John White
Photo of Eastern Milksnake courtesy of John White

Size

24 inches – 36 inches. Record: 52 inches

Appearance

  • This slender snake has a ground color of tan to light brown with 32 or more broad red with black-bordered blotches down the body in three or five rows.
  • At the nape of the neck, there is a grey or tan Y-, V-, U, or A- shaped patch.
  • The belly has a black-and-white checkerboard pattern.
  • Scales are not keeled.
  • Close-up Photo of Eastern Milksnake courtesy of Scott A. Smith
    Close-up Photo of Eastern Milksnake courtesy of Scott A. Smith

    Habitats

    Will utilize a variety of habitats. In higher elevations may be found in deciduous and mixed forests, grassy hillsides, and rocky outcrops. In lower elevations, they prefer wooded areas, open fields, powerline rights-of-way, and around human habitation.

    How to Find

    Primarily nocturnal and burrowing so may be difficult to find. This snake may be found during the day under rocks, logs or boards or other cover. Known for showing up around barns and out buildings when mice are plentiful. Non-venomous.

    Photo of Habitat for Eastern Milksnake courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
    Photo of Habitat for Eastern Milksnake courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers

    Distribution in Maryland

    Found from the Fall Line (roughly I-95) west through the Piedmont and mountain regions.

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    and Reptile Atlas Project

    "A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"

    For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.

    The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.