Milk snakes, despite their dairy-inspired name, do not sport much milky whiteness. On the contrary, outside of a couple white stripes running horizontally along their body, the milk snake is mostly black and red.
Newly-born and baby milk snakes also sport this red, black, and white coloration, only more vividly. These colors appear in horizontal stripes running in bands across their bodies with the red being the most vibrant. When they are born, baby milk snakes typically measure around six to eleven inches in length and usually weigh about four grams.
These snakes can make great pets, but you will require a bit of knowledge to be able to properly care for them. In this article, we will discuss many facets of the milk snake. From identifying features to price and from diet to digestion, we’ll cover it all. Read on to learn more about baby milk snakes.
Things to Look for in Identifying a Baby Milk Snake
The easiest way to identify if a milk snake is a baby is by its size. As with any animal, the milk snake is significantly smaller at birth, around six to eleven inches. Compare this to its full-grown size of around 24 inches, and you have a pretty big difference.
Milk snakes are often confused with copperhead snakes. An easy way to tell them apart is by each snake’s coloration. The copperhead snake has a more dull, tan coloration while the milk snake’s coloring is more pinkish and bright.
Baby Milk Snake Coloring
The coloring of the baby milk snake is very similar to that of their grown up counterparts. They have a three to five band pattern running down their bodies usually incorporating black, red, and white. Sometimes, though, you may see a bit of yellow or tan worked in at parts.
The main difference with a baby milk snake’s coloration is the vividness of the coat. Baby milk snakes usually have brighter and more vibrant colors that tend to fade away and dull as they age.
How Much Do Baby Milk Snakes Cost?
A baby milk snake can cost anywhere from around $100 to around $500 USD. This price depends on the reptile pet market in your area and on the discretion of the individual seller you deal with.
When buying your baby milk snake, you might want to make sure of the quality of the seller you deal with. Unfortunately, some sellers out there are more interested in the quantity of snakes sold and the money they can make rather than the snake’s quality of life. Research the seller or shop before making any commitments.
A red flag that indicates a poor seller is a shop or website with a high quantity of snakes for sale. This can show their priority of quantity over care.
What Size Tank Does a Baby Milk Snake Need?
Due to their smaller size during their infancy, baby milk snakes can be housed in tanks as small as ten gallons. The best dimensions for your baby milk snake’s habitat tend to be around 20 inches by 10 inches by 12 inches. The ideal dimensions for your baby milk snake may vary, though.
This may go without saying, but as your milk snake grows older, its tank will need to become bigger. By the time your milk snake reaches full adult size, they will need a 25 to 70 gallon tank. Giving your slithery friend plenty of living space is one of the most important things you can do for it. After all, no one likes to live in a cramped space, right?
Do Baby Milk Snakes Bite?
Baby milk snakes can and have bitten people before. It is important to recognize, though, that milk snake bites are (1) very uncommon and are usually only provoked when the snake feels threatened and in danger, (2) are not harmful to humans, especially as the baby milk snake’s mouth is barely big enough to properly bite even a pinky finger and, (3) are not venomous.
Your baby milk snake may tend to bite a bit more than an adult. It is new to this world and will probably be scared by much of what surrounds it, especially the giant human handling it. As it grows accustomed to you and its environment, though, the instances of biting usually decrease.
What Do Baby Milk Snakes Eat?
If you have a baby milk snake as a pet, its diet will most likely consist of small rodents you can buy from the local pet shop, or maybe even find in your house sometimes. This includes baby rats and full-sized mice. You might even be able to find insects like crickets at your local pet shop. In that case, your baby milk snake would definitely like a little treat.
In the wild, the milk snake’s diet differs a bit due to a wider availability of food. In addition to rats and mice, they eat insects, such as crickets, spiders, and other similarly-sized critters; small reptiles and amphibians, such as baby frogs and lizards; and small mammals, like birds and tiny rodents.
How Long Can Baby Milk Snakes Go Without Eating?
A baby milk snake can usually live up to six months without eating any food. As with other types of snakes, the milk snake can lower its metabolism to require less nutrients and live off the stored energy in its body.
Since a baby milk snake is, well, a baby, this time may prove to be a bit shorter. Any animal in their growing phase will require more nutrients and sustenance to survive and grow properly.
How Often Does a Baby Milk Snake Eat?
Unlike humans who require food multiple times a day, baby milk snakes only need to eat every five days. Their metabolism works slower than humans’ and can be slowed down more at will than ours.
As your baby milk snake ages, its metabolism will become even slower. Their feeding rate will decrease to once every three to six weeks.
There is more to take into account, though, when feeding your baby milk snake. Milk snakes typically eat during the daylight when they would usually hunt in the wild. They also require a moist environment to properly eat and digest their food.
Some snake experts highly recommend always having a bowl of clean, fresh water in the snake’s tank and even soaking your milk snake in it for ten minutes before feeding to ensure proper digestion.
At What Age are Baby Milk Snakes Fully Grown?
A baby milk snake will continue to grow until it is about three or four years old. At this time, most baby milk snakes will be fully grown and stay at this adult size for the rest of their lives.
A baby milk snake’s size can depend on their specific subspecies (in milk snakes, there are over 20 different subspecies), their diet, their habitat, and, of course, genetics.
One of the biggest factors affecting baby milk snake size is habitat. Baby milk snakes in the wild can grow to be as long as 69 inches long (175 cm). However, baby milk snakes that grow up in captivity usually only grow to a maximum length of 32 inches (81 cm).
What Does Baby Milk Snake Poop Look Like?
Baby milk snake poop usually is a oblong, liquidy excretion that can sometimes have a white part at the end. Many snakes, milk snakes included, have only one opening through which they expel their waste, unlike humans. This makes their poop more liquidy than maybe you are used to seeing.
The baby milk snake will have a smaller poop than an adult milk snake, but it should generally have the same look.
In terms of timing, a baby milk snake will typically poop about two days after it eats. This is a bit longer than humans but this is generally how long it takes baby milk snakes to digest their food and expel their waste.
If you notice that there is not much form to your baby milk snake’s poop and that it is too liquidy, this could be a sign of a health problem. Place a sample of the poop in a plastic bag and take it to your vet for testing.