Honduran Milksnake

Honduran Milksnake

Reptiles

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: Honduran milksnake
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
FAMILY: Colubridae
GENUS SPECIES: Lampropeltis (shining, beautiful scales) triangulum (three colors) hondurensis (coming from Honduras); occurs in several color morphs

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Narrow bodied snake; black and red banded
SIZE: 150 cm (5 ft.)
WEIGHT: Average 1270 g (2.77 lb.)
DIET: Small mammals, eggs, and other reptiles including snakes
INCUBATION: 10 weeks
CLUTCH SIZE 3-24 eggs
SEXUAL MATURITY: 3-12 years
LIFE SPAN: 20 years
RANGE: Nicaragua, Northeastern Costa Rica, Caribbean slope of Honduras
HABITAT: Leaf litter in rainforests
POPULATION: GLOBAL No data
STATUS: IUCN No data
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed

FUN FACTS

1. Like many reptiles, the incubation temperature of their eggs may determine the offsprings' sex; warmer temperatures usually create males while cool temperatures create females.
2. These snakes are known for their imitation of the markings and behavior of the venomous coral snake. By such mimicry, they lead potential predators to believe they are dealing with a dangerous animals, and are thus left alone.
3. Milksnakes use quick, jerky movements so that their bands flash, startling predators. Their bright colors signal danger and often confuse predators, making these snakes hard to follow.
4. Milksnakes are known for eating other snakes.
5. Milksnakes have one of the widest distributions of any snake in the Americas.
6. They get their name from an old belief that it drinks milk from the udders of cows. This myth probably arose because they were commonly spotted in barns and stables, where there is a concentration of rodents.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Many other important predators like birds-of-prey feed on young snakes. This means that snakes fulfill roles as both predators and prey in regional food chains. Milksnakes are also valuable in their role of curbing rodent populations, especially those near human settlement.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Coborn, John. The Atlas of Snakes of the World. New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications, inc. 1991.

Markel, R. and R. D. Bartlette. Kingsnakes and Milksnakes. TFH Publications, Inc. 1990.

Mehrtens, John M. Living Snakes of the World. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1987.

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