What kind of snake is this?

Asked September 10, 2019, 7:01 AM EDT

What kind of snake is this?

Licking County Ohio eastern milksnake lampropeltis triangulum triangulum snakes of ohio

1 Response

Thank you for your question. The snake in your photographs is an eastern milksnake, scientific name Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum. This species is non-venomous.

Typical length is approximately 2 feet, and maximum length can reach slightly over 4 feet. Milksnakes are found in at least portions of every eastern state in the U.S., except Florida. They are found throughout Michigan. The eastern milksnake can be found both in dense forest as well as more open field habitats. They are frequently found under rocks, lumber and other debris in agricultural areas and under logs in woodland areas.

Milksnakes feed on both invertebrates and vertebrates. Invertebrate prey items include beetles, roaches and slugs. Vertebrate prey include small rodents and shrews, small birds, amphibians, lizards and other snakes, including copperheads and rattlesnakes.

If threatened, these snakes usually attempt to escape. If this fails, they will vibrate their tail, discharge a strong-smelling musk, and, if you attempt to pick them up, may bite and chew. Over time, however, they usually become accustomed to being handled.

An excellent field guide for snakes in your area is:

Gibbons, Whit. (2017). Snakes Of The Eastern United States. Athens: The University of Georgia Press.

I hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim