Lampropeltis triangulum

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Scientific name Lampropeltis triangulum
English name Eastern Milksnake
Distribution From Ontario, Canada, along the Georgian Bay to southern Quebec. Further east from Lake Huron to southern Maine, south via New England and New York to North Carolina and the far north of Alabama and Georgia.

Then westward to eastern Minnesota (this was the habitat of L. t. Triangulum). After the revision of all subspecies of L. triangulum the following areas of these two subspecies are added:(L.t. syspila and intergrades) in Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee and possibly Arkansas north of the Arkansas River.(L. t. amaura) in northeastern Louisiana (specifically in La Salle Parish.

Habitat Within its distribution area, this species occurs in virtually every habitat. These can be open forests, fields, rocky areas, in the vicinity of human habitation, etc. It seems that this species does not make specific demands on its environment.

In the Canadian part of the distribution area, they are little found in the wetter parts, such as wetlands.

Details The species L. triangulum had many (24) subspecies until 2014. After extensive genetic research by Ruane et al., subspecies are no longer recognized in this species.The twenty-four subspecies now form seven different species:

 

  • The no longer valid subspecies L. t. triangulum, L. t. syspila and L. t. amaura (partly) now form the species L. triangulum.
  • The no longer valid subspecies L. t. celanenops, L. t. multistriata, L. t. taylori, L. t. amaura (partly) and L. t. annulata (partly) now form the species L. gentilis.
  • The no longer valid subspecies L. t. elapsoides is now a separate species, namely L. elapsoides.
  • The no longer valid subspecies L. t. annulata and L. t. dixoni now form the species L. annulata.
  • The no longer valid subspecies L. t. arcifera, L. t. conanti (partly), L. t. campbelli, L. t. nelsoni, L. t. polyzona (partly), L. t. sinaloae and L. t. smithi now form the species L. polyzona.
  • The no longer valid subspecies L. t. blanchardi, L. t. conanti (partly), L. t. hondurensis, L. t. oligozona, L. t. polyzona (partly) and L. t. stuarti now form the species L. abnorma.
  • The no longer valid subspecies L. t. micropholis, L.t. gaigeae and L. t. andesiana now form the species L. micropholis.

 

For an extensive report of this research read the article below.


Ruane, Sara; Robert W. Bryson, Jr., R. Alexander Pyron, and Frank T. Burbrink 2014. Coalescent Species Delimitation in Milksnakes (genus Lampropeltis) and Impacts on Phylogenetic Comparative Analyses. Systematic Biology 63 (2): 231-250, doi:10.1093/sysbio/syt099


For the appearance of this species, click on the photo at the top of this page. This snake, like many of the other Lampropeltis species, is rather variable in its appearance.

The average length of the Eastern Milk Snake is between 60 and 90 cm. But there are specimen known up to about 130 cm.

In the wild, this species eats rodents, birds and bird eggs, lizards and amphibians, but also sometimes fish, earthworms, snails and insects. Snakes, including venomous, are also on their menu.

Depending on the location, Eastern Milk Snakes are brumating from October/November to March/April. The reproduction period starts in May or June.

After about 30 days the eggs are laid, usually underneath rotting tree stumps, leaf litter or stones. An average clutch consists of 10 – 15 eggs, but everything between 3 and 24 eggs occurs.

After a period of approx. 60 days the eggs will hatch. At birth, the snakes are about 15 to 18 cm long. Like many other representatives of the genus Lampropeltis, they can become to about twenty years old.