Species of the month: Eastern Milksnake (October 2020)

November 3, 2020

Conservation status:

Special Concern

The Eastern Milksnake is a non-venomous constrictor in the family Colubridae.

 Identifying features:

  • Grey/tan in colour with alternating red or reddish brown blotches that are distinctly outlined in black along its body.
  • Can grow to over a metre in length.


  • They live in a wide variety of natural and human-modified habitats. Such habitats include prairies, meadows, pastures, hayfields, rocky outcrops, rocky hillsides and forests (deciduous, coniferous, and mixed.


  • The milksnake can lay 8 to 16 eggs from late May to July. Several females lay eggs at a single egg-laying site, often within several centimetres of each other
  • They are opportunistic predators consuming small-sized prey such as the young of other snakes, amphibians, invertebrates, rodents, reptiles and sometimes fish.

Predators of Eastern Milksnakes include:

  • bullfrogs
  • brown Thrashers
  • raccoons
  • coyotes
  • hawks
  • owls
  • foxes
  • skunks
  • other snakes - including the Eastern Milksnake itself!
  • weasels and shrews may pose a threat to eggs and young hibernating
  • domestic and feral dogs and cats


Photo credit: Joe Crowley

eastern milksnake