Pueblan Milk Snake Care Sheet

The Pueblan Milk Snake has been a popular snake in the reptile hobby for a long time. They are very attractive, colourful snakes that are quite easy to care for. This has made them a popular species among beginners and experienced keepers.

There are over 20 species of Milk Snake, but this care sheet focuses on the Pueblan Milk Snake. However, much of the information provided is transferable to other species of Milk Snake.

Some of the other common species of Milk Snake include the Eastern Milk Snake, Honduran Milk Snake, Mexican Milk Snake, Nelson’s Milk Snake and Black Milk Snake,

Pueblan Milk Snake Care
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Pueblan Milk Snake Description

The Pueblan Milk Snake is a tri-coloured banded snake. These colours are very distinctive and consist of repeated bands of Black-White-Black-Red. They are a relatively slender small species of snake with most specimens maxing out at 3-4 foot in length.

Their head is not distinctive and doesn’t protrude out from the neck. They are generally a solitary species and are most active at dusk and dawn.

The colour bands on the snake is an excellent example of Batesian Mimicry. This is an evolutionary trait where an animal mimics another more dangerous animal in an attempt to ward off predators. The colour bands of a Pueblan Milk Snake resemble the bands of the highly venomous Coral Snake.

Pueblan Milk Snake
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Natural Habitat and Distribution

The Pueblan Milk Snakes is found in parts of Central and Southern Mexico. The most populated locations include Puebla, Morelos and Oaxaca. Unfortunately, due to their bright colours they are often killed by humans who mistake them for a venomous snake.

They are found in a wide range of habitats including tropical forests, open woodlands, rocky hillsides and agricultural areas. They are very adaptable snakes which makes them easy to care for in captivity.

Pueblan Milk Snake Behaviour

Pueblan Milk Snakes are a nocturnal species that are mostly active at dusk and dawn. They are rarely seen during the day. They are often found around agricultural structures such as barns where they will take advantage of the increased rodent numbers.

Pueblan Milk Snake’s as Pets

The Pueblan Milk Snake makes a great pet. They are an active snake that you will regularly see roaming the cage at night. They can be a bit flighty as juveniles but will grow out of that with regular handling. They are from the family Colubridae which contains many common species such as the Garter Snake.

They have stunning colour patterns making them a very attractive snake to look at. Milk Snakes don’t grow too large so they are ideal for people who don’t want a snake that grows too large. Although they are relatively small snakes, they do require larger cages due to their active nature.

These snakes can live for 15-20 years in captivity. They are a hardy snake that can thrive in a range of conditions which makes them an ideal species for beginners.

Pueblan Milk Snake Care Sheet
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Feeding a Pueblan Milk Snake

A Pueblan Milk Snake will feed on a host of prey in the wild. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat almost anything that fits in their mouth. There is even reports of these snakes eating venomous snakes in the wild, although these are unverified.

They will primarily eat lizards, rodents, small mammals and baby birds. They have even been witnessed eating iguana eggs. It is believed that one of their primary sources of food is the five lined skink.

In captivity, they will readily eat frozen thawed mice and rats. An adult Milk Snake can be fed large mice for the duration of their life. Food can be offered once a week.


As the Pueblan Milk Snake is a relatively small and slender snake they do not need excessively large enclosures. A 3-foot-long enclosure will provide them with all the space they need to live a happy and healthy life.

Hatchlings can be housed in smaller enclosures that can be upgraded as they grow. Many people choose to house babies in tubs as it is easy to control of the temperature and humidity. Hatchlings can be setup in 15-20 Gallon enclosures. These snakes are very small and slender so ensure there are no gaps that the snake can escape through.

You should include two hiding spots in the enclosure for both adults and hatchlings. One should be placed at the hot end while the other should be placed at the cooler end of the enclosure. This will allow the snake to feel secure while thermoregulating.

A fresh water bowl should always be provided. This will ensure your snake can stay hydrated. They may also decide to bath in the bowl to assist with shedding. The water bowl should be cleaned and sanitised regularly to prevent the build-up of dangerous bacteria.

The Pueblan Milk Snake is a great climber. Include some climbing branches or rocks for the snake to utilise. They are quite active snakes and will roam the cage at night. Ensure cage furnishings are secure and can’t fall over and injure your snake.

Light and Heat

Pueblan Milk Snakes should be given a hot spot of about 85F. The ambient temperature in the enclosure should be about 75F. This can be provided by providing heat to one end of the enclosure. The temperature will then cool as the snake moves away from the source of the heat.

These snakes do well with a heat mat. This will provide belly heat for the snake. The heat mat should be controlled using a good thermostat. The thermostat will ensure that the heat mat provides the right amount of heat for your snake.

An alternative method for heating your snake is with a heat lamp. For this, you can use a basking bulb or a ceramic heat emitter. These techniques heat the air in the enclosure and provide your snake with heat from above. These heating devices must also be controlled with a thermostat.

You do not need to provide your snake with any special lighting. As long as the snake is subjected to a natural day/night cycle, that is all they need. If your snake is kept in a room with no windows, you should install a light source in their enclosure. This can be put on a timer to provide a day/night cycle or you can manually turn it off at night.


A Pueblan Milk Snake will do well on a wide range of substrates. Commonly used substrates include Aspen Shavings, Cypress Mulch, Orchid Bark and newspaper. The first three substrates are recommended for anyone looking for a more naturalistic looking vivarium.

You will need to pay close attention to humidity levels if you are using substrates such as Cypress Mulch or Orchid Bark as these substrates are good at holding moisture. A Milk Snake will do well with a humidity level of about 50%.

You can also use basic substrates such as newspaper and paper towel. These substrates don’t look as good but they are very easy to keep clean. Simply throw away and replace the substrate as it becomes soiled.

Pueblan Milk Snake Care
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A Pueblan Milk Snake will shed their skin for the duration of their life. Hatchlings will shed every couple of weeks while they are growing. Adult snakes will only shed a couple of times a year as their growth rate is significantly reduced.

When a snake enters a shedding cycle it is a good idea to provide them with a damp hide box to assist with the process. This can be a plastic container with a small hole cut in the top. The container should be filled with a damp substrate such as sphagnum moss.

You should inspect your snake after it has finished shedding to ensure there is no stuck shed left on the snake. Common areas for stuck shed include around the eyes and on the tip of the tail. If your snake has stuck shed you can give them a bath in warm water. The warm water will loosen the skin and you should be able to pull it off quite easily.

Handling a Pueblan Milk Snake

Pueblan Milk Snakes are a very docile species of snake. They can be quite skittish, especially as juveniles but with regular handling they can grow out of this. Regularly handled Milk Snakes can tolerate long handling sessions and will enjoy time outside of their enclosure.

They are a quick snake so handling them can be a very different experience to other snakes such as Ball Pythons who move much slower. They will often be skittish when you take them out of their enclosure but once out, they generally calm down.

They are highly inquisitive snakes and will actively explore the world around them. You should use slow gentle movements when handling them as they spook easily.

Breeding Pueblan Milk Snakes

The first step to breeding Pueblan Milk Snakes is to ensure you have a breeding pair. The most common methods for sexing snakes are popping and probing. These techniques should only be performed by a person with experience as they can injure the snake if done incorrectly. Seek assistance from an experienced breeder before attempting to sex your snake.

The breeding season usually begins around the middle of October. At this time, you should stop feeding your snakes. On the first of November, temperatures can be reduced to 55F. It is very important not to feed your snake for a couple of weeks before reducing the temperatures. Milk Snakes won’t be able to digest their food at cold temperatures which can be fatal. Lights should also be turned off at this time.

On the 1st March, temperatures and lighting can be restored to normal. After about a week you can offer the snakes their first meal. At this time you can also start pairing the snakes. The male can be introduced into the female’s enclosure for two days a week. Males can be cycled between females as long as they are given a couple of days off each week to regenerate.

After the female has ovulated you can stop introducing the male into her enclosure. The female will have a noticeable bulge halfway down her body when she is ovulating. About 6-10 days before the eggs are laid, she will go through her pre lay shed. This is your best indication of when to expect eggs. An egg laying box should be placed in the enclosure at this time. It should be loosely packed with damp sphagnum moss or another substrate.

Once the eggs are laid they should be removed and incubated. Eggs should be incubated at 80F-85F. The eggs should be placed on a damp, but not wet substrate. Opening the container every few days to check on the eggs will allow for adequate air exchanges.

Breeding Pueblan Milk Snakes
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After the female has laid the clutch, she can be offered smaller food items. If she appears healthy and maintained good weight, the male can be reintroduced after a few days to try for a second clutch. It is a good idea to use the same male to ensure you can track who the father is as the female can retain