The first rule of snake pets is that they have to be nonvenomous. The second rule is they have to be cute with a clear-cut personality. The last thing you’d want is a pet that acts like they’re not there most of the time. And the third rule is they have to be pleasing to the eye not the kind of pet nightmares are made of.
Pueblan milk snakes fit the bill to a T. Hauling originally from Mexico where the harsh sun baked their skin to perfection, these nonvenomous snakes have distinct color patterns and a variety of hues that set them apart from other serpents that come from that region. And once they get used to you, they become pals for life.
Pueblan milk snakes are fun to have around and they’re easy to own since they don’t require you to go to excessive measures to keep them happy and content. They do take some time to get used to living with humans, and their notorious stink is only used as a defense mechanism when they see a perceived threat.
Pueblan Milk Snake Colors
People get attracted to snakes as pets for various reasons. But the most common one that makes a person choose one serpent over the others is invariably its color patterns. The more striking the colors the more popular the snake. Those reptiles with a single monotonous color are usually the ones left behind in the pet shop.
This explains why Pueblan milk snakes are so high on the favorability scale as far as owners are concerned. They come with ribbons and bands of colors that wind around their slender bodies. The colors come in various contrasts. There’s the combination of black and white and also the various shades of red. Some morphs have a bunch of colors in stunning designs all over their backs and sides.
How Much is a Pueblan Milk Snake?
Pueblan milk snakes are not rare and their price averages anything between $50 for a baby Pueblan milk snake to $500 for rare morphs. Two things determine how much you’re going to pay for this serpent. The first is the morph and the other thing is its length.
Not all Pueblan milk snakes come in the same shape. They may have the same design pattern all over, but the new morphs give them distinct colors and designs that many people find appealing and worth the high price tag attached to them.
It is recommended to buy a baby Pueblan milk snake over an adult one. The baby snake is easy to adapt to having humans around it and is less likely to spray you with its stink. Babies are also easier to handle and care for than adults. On top of that they’re cheaper.
What Do Baby Pueblan Milk Snakes Look Like?
The baby Pueblan milk snake is the spitting image of its adult version except for the sharpness and brightness of the colors. When they hatch, the babies usually have more gray tones on the back of their bodies than the usual bright black, white, and red bands.
They’re only a few inches long and shy away from lights, noise, and anything that moves in its vicinity. They take a few weeks to finally get oriented and their bright colors start to show. Make sure to feed them regularly so they get used to you and associate your presence with food and comfort.
Pueblan Milk Snake Shedding
Shedding is a common problem that all snake owners have to deal with. Pueblan milk snakes are no exception to this problem. By nature, snakes need to change their skin as they grow since the skin doesn’t grow with them.
During its infancy these snakes tend to grow rather fast. In the right environment and with plenty of food available, they’ll grow at amazing speed. This results in more shedding than usual. In the first year, the snake might shed once every 2 weeks. But once they’ve reached their maximum length, their shedding slows down to once a year.
Pueblan Milk Snake Facts
As fascinating and popular as the Pueblan milk snakes are, there are many conceptions circulating around these stunning critters. Mostly it’s the stink they produce and the combination of black and red which inspired many unfortunate myths and legends around them in times of old. Here are a few facts to dispel these myths and put the misconceptions to rest at long last.
- The scientific name for the Pueblan milk snake is lampropeltis triangulum campbelli.
- They produce their stink only as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened.
- They originally come from Mexico.
- Their average life span in captivity is 20 years.
- Pueblan milk snakes are carnivorous.
- They’re also known as Campbell’s milk snake.
- They are nonvenomous.
How to Breed Pueblan Milk Snakes
To breed Pueblan milk snakes you’ll need to have the right environment and obviously a male and female at the right age. The mating period starts from the end of March when they end their brumate period. After they mate, the female will lay a batch of eggs that vary in number. It could be as few as 2 eggs or as many as 15.
The incubation period is 2 months during that time you need to separate the mother from the mating male. After 60 days the babies hatch and you can keep them in a separate cage since the mother will have nothing to do with them after they hatch.
How Big Do Pueblan Milk Snakes Get?
Pueblan milk snakes are not the giant serpents you’d think them to be. On average the adult Pueblan milk snake reaches 36 inches when it’s well fed and cared for. Some will never grow an inch over 24.
When they coil around themselves and hide their head, it’s easy to mistake them for a lump of wool or a very colorful rock. And since they’re nonvenomous their first instinct when they seem something unfamiliar is to run away and hide. Try not to corner them though else you’ll get a nasty surprise that assaults your nose.
How Long Do Pueblan Milk Snakes Live?
In captivity, the Pueblan milk snakes can live for more than 20 years. Proper care and food allow them to grow and live long. But in the wild it’s a different story. Because of their diminutive size and lack of natural weapons, these serpents don’t last long.
The babies have a high mortality rate and their only defense mechanism, their stink, doesn’t deter predators like the mongoose and birds of prey from picking them one at a time.
Where Do Pueblan Milk Snakes Live?
In nature, they hail from Mexico. Three Mexican regions are famous for housing these cute snakes. These are Oaxaca, Morelos, and Puebla that lends its name to the snake. But it’s unlikely that the ones you buy from the pet shop come from these exotic parts.
Most Pueblan milk snakes that you can get these days were bred in captivity. This means your pet snake hasn’t seen the sun-baked deserts of Mexico nor does it have any idea what the mountain air smell like. They’re happy to live in their cage and keep you company in the safety of your home.
Pueblan Milk Snake Tank Size
This brings us to their tank. Since these are rather small critters that don’t get any longer than a foot no matter how hard they try, you can get a medium size tank to make them comfortable. A tank measuring anything between 2×3 feet and 4×5 feet is good enough for your pet snake.
Of course the bigger the tank the better. And try to add some accessories to make the serpent feel right at home. Rocks and twigs are a welcome addition to the tank. They also need a hiding place when the noise or lights get too much for them. During shedding they become antsy and irritable so they need somewhere quiet to grow their new skin in peace.
Pueblan Milk Snake Diet
As carnivorous critters, Pueblan milk snakes have a varied diet. They have a large menu and will eat just about anything that moves and can’t fight back. At home you’ll normally feed them rats and mice. But in the wild they eat frogs, lizards, and even birds if they manage to ambush them.
But that’s not all they tend to eat. Pueblan milk snakes also love to feed on venomous snakes. It’s not clear why they choose to do that, but we can only thank them for ridding nature from the treacherous critters who crawl around with bags full of poison ready to inject them in the unsuspecting hikers and campers.
Pueblan Milk Snake Handling
We mentioned that Pueblan milk snakes are nonvenomous and shy. They take some time to get used to you. Don’t reach into the cage or make sudden moves around them until they have become familiar with your presence.
While they don’t tend to bite, occasionally they might get irritated enough to bite you. Avoid them during their shedding because they feel most vulnerable at the times when their skin is off and the new suit is being tailored.
Other than that, the Pueblan milk snakes are quite sociable once they develop a bond with their human. Their personality matches their bright colors and they are fun to hold in your hands. Don’t squeeze their bodies and in general be gentle in your petting and handling.
Pueblan Milk Snake History
We already mentioned that Pueblan milk snakes hail from Mexico. But that’s only part of the story. Most of the Pueblan milk snakes you’ll encounter these days are the ones bred in captivity. They take their name from the Puebla region in Mexico. But they can also be found in other parts such as Oaxaca and Morelos.
For centuries these snakes were revered by the local cultures that sprang around Mexico before the arrival of the Spanish invaders. Their defense mechanism deterred people from approaching them but overall they were treated with respect.
Some legends attributed mythical powers to them while others were less gracious alleging that the benign serpents had evil spirits inside of them.