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The Sinaloan milk snake can live up to 20 years. Photo credit: Cioli/ BowTie Studio.
Not only is the Sinaloan milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum sinaloae) easy to care for, but it is by far one of the most beautiful snakes available in the pet trade.
Size: Up to 48 inches.
Life Span: Up to and beyond 20 years.
Range: Sonora to Sinaloa, Rio Fuerte and into southwestern Chihuahua, Mexico.
Natural Habitat: Pacific coastal lowlands below 3,300 feet. Found under rotting logs, forest and human debris. Abundant near human dwellings and cornfields.
Captive Housing: Housing for an adult is simple and can consist of a 20-gallon terrarium with a secure lid. Bedding can consist of aspen, pine, cage carpet, newspaper or almost any other material used as bedding for snakes. Establish a hotspot, using a heat pad at one end of the terrarium, of about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The ambient temperature of the rest of the enclosure should be about 70 degrees. No additional lighting is required. Furnish at least two hides large enough for the snake to curl up in, one at either end of the enclosure, and a bowl of water for the snake to drink from at the cool end of the terrarium. Decorate as desired with artificial plants, logs or other decorative items.
Diet: Depending on the size of the snake, food consists of rodents ranging from pinky mice to large adult mice. Sinaloan milk snakes readily take pre-killed or frozen/thawed mice.
Sinaloan milk snakes are known for sometimes being ophiophagous (snake eaters). Take care when housing more than one in the same enclosure. Select snakes that are approximately the same size, but watch them carefully.
What's Available:Thanks to pioneers such as Bob Applegate, the Sinaloan milk snake has proven to be not only a beautiful snake in its natural state, but very variable due to captive breeding. Some morphs include splotched, splotched albino, albino, hypoerythristic, hybino, aberrant, albino aberrant, patternless and patternless albino. Hypomelanistic and calico are on the horizon.
Not only is the Sinaloan milk snake easy to care for, but it is by far one of the most beautiful snakes available in the pet trade. Prices for normal patterned and colored animals has not changed much from the late 1970s, which shows the long-term appeal of this snake. Easy to handle, invariably tame, and just cool to look at, the Sinaloan milk snake has something for everyone.
Ken Foose produced his first captive-bred snakes at age 11. With a master's in zoology, he has been both zookeeper and curator. He opened Exotic Pets, which specializes in reptiles and amphibians, in Las Vegas in 1991, and he is currently vice president of the International Herpetological Symposium.