Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum)

a vibrant milk snake slithers through underbrush
These colorful snakes are supposed to mimic the coloration of the venomous coral snake.

NPS Photo

Milk Snake
Lampropeltis triangulum
  • The Milk Snake is a medium-sized snake, with adults ranging from 24 to 36 inches in length.
  • They are active from April to October, then return to winter dens which are usually mammal burrows or rocky crevices for hibernation.
  • The flashy coloration is supposed to mimic venomous coral snakes; however, coral snakes do not occur in South Dakota.

  • Coloration is white with large red bands between blacks rings running the length of their body.
  • These rings can extend onto the belly or the belly can be white and unmarked.
  • Juvenile coloration is the same as adults' coloration.

  • Milk snakes eat small mammals, lizards, and other snakes.
  • Typically, large prey is constricted, but small prey is not.

Interactions with other animals
  • Other snakes, weasels, coyotes, foxes, and birds of prey eat this species.

Last updated: January 9, 2024

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Mailing Address:

11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730


605 673-8300
The main phone line connects visitors with staff at the visitor center. Throughout the year, the phone line is monitored by staff on a daily basis, excluding holidays and days with limited visitor services. Please be advised that after-hours messages are not taken on the system; visitors are encouraged to call the visitor center during normal operations and speak with a park ranger for assistance.

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