Eastern Milksnake

Eastern Milksnake
Image Source: "Red milk snake" by The original uploader was BillC at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - 

1. Have wide, brightly colored, very distinct bands running the entire length of their bodies in tan, black and heavy red or reddish-brown-the bands differ in number and width with each individual. 

2. The Eastern Milksnake has a greyish coloured background with distinct reddish brown  blotches that are outlined in black. The Eastern Milksnake has a light coloured V or Y shaped mark on its head.

3. The Eastern Milksnake is one of six species of kingsnake found in North America and is actually a constrictor, meaning it wraps around its prey before it feeds.

4. The Eastern Milksnake got its name because it was once mistakenly thought to milk cows.

5. Although the average life span of an Eastern Milksnake is around 7 years, some have been known to live for more than 20 years.

6. Grabs prey with their teeth and wrap coils of their body around the prey and squeeze - do not crush the prey and break bones but rather squeeze tightly so that the prey cannot breathe and suffocates.

7. Prey mainly upon rodents, birds, lizards and other snakes

8. Can unhinge their jaw to swallow the prey whole utilizing rhythmic muscular contractions that pull the prey down into the snake’s throat and stomach.

9. A special tube on the bottom of its mouth stays open to one side of the mouth so they can breathe while swallowing.

10. Highly sensitive forked tongue and Jacobson’s organ.

11. Odor particles are collected by the forked tongue and transported back to the Jacobson organ in the top of the mouth.

12. The Jacobson’s organ is a patch of sensory cells (chemoreceptor) that detects both social chemical communication by pheromones and helps snakes hunt and track their prey. 

13. Use mimicry to scare off potential predators.

14. They have similar coloration and pattern to venomous coral snakes, making it easy to confuse them with this dangerous snake species.

15. By closely imitating/mimicking the bright colors of coral snakes, the milksnake scares away potential predators that may think they are also venomous.

16. The Eastern Milksnake seems to enjoy rural areas with an abundance of barns, sheds and older houses. It is often found under objects that receive direct sunlight such as large planks, debris, rock piles or rubbish; using the heat from these objects to thermo regulate (control it’s body temperature).

17. When confronted with danger the Eastern Milksnake will vibrate its tail against dry leaves on the ground, which can sound startlingly similar to a Rattlesnake.

18. The Eastern milksnake is a type of kingsnake.

19. All kingsnakes are native to the western hemisphere.

20. The “king” in their name refers to their willingness to eat other snakes, even venomous ones, including rattlesnakes, copperheads and cottonmouths -kingsnakes are able to eat venomous snakes because they are highly resistant to their venom.

21. Molt/shed several times a year to accommodate growing.

22. Snake appears duller just before shedding and eyes become cloudy.

23. Snake will seek out and rub against rough surfaces to dislodge old skin.

24. Once a tear is made in the skin the snake will crawl out of old skin leaving a shed behind.

25. They appear more brightly colored after shedding.

26. Shedding typically takes a week or longer.


Popular Posts