Pueblan Milk Snakes are a beautiful species that we’re a big fan of. They came onto our radar a few years back and we absolutely fell in love with them.
The clean and bright stripes are something that anyone can appreciate, and if you own one you’ll probably spend hours just staring at them!
But there are some things you need to know about Pueblan Milk Snake care before you get one. While not difficult, helping this reptile thrive requires you to have a strong understanding of their core requirements.
Read on to learn what they are!
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If you’re looking for a colorful snake that’s easy to care for, the Pueblan Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum campbelli) may be for you.
These snakes are a great example of mimicry in the animal kingdom. At first glance, they look like the highly venomous Coral Snake.
Despite their similar looks, Pueblan Milk Snakes are not venomous at all. They make wonderful pet snakes for reptile enthusiasts with a bit of experience.
These snakes are found throughout southern regions in Mexico. More specifically, they’re usually found throughout Puebla, hence their namesake.
Thanks to the warm and moderate climates of their natural habitat, Pueblan Milk Snakes do quite well in captivity. Breeders all over the world have made this species accessible to snake-lovers everywhere.
Average Pueblan Milk Snake Size
Generally, the size of a Pueblan Milk Snake when fully-grown is somewhere between 24 and 48 inches in length.
Some adult specimens have been reported to be significantly larger, reaching a total length of up to 72 inches. However, those instances are rare and usually occur in the wild rather than captive environments.
Expert Tip: If you want to maximize the size of your Pueblan Milk Snake as much as possible, a top-notch diet and perfect habitat is the way to go.
This isn’t a snake that you can forget about in a couple of years. Pueblan Milk Snakes have long lifespans of 20 years or more.
This means if you plan on caring for one, be prepared for a long commitment.
Like any other snake, quality of care is crucial for a Pueblan Milk Snake. Without the right living conditions and access to an appropriate diet, these snakes can quickly become sick and experience a shortened lifespan.
Appearance & Colors
Pueblan Milk Snakes are beautiful reptiles adorned with vibrant color. There are some color variations available. Selective breeding has resulted in some rare morphs that are highly sought-after.
However, most snakes feature the same signature tri-color pattern.
The snakes are covered in stripes of red, black, and white. You may also find hues of cream or light yellow in lieu of the traditional white.
Expert Tip: As we mentioned earlier, these snakes look strikingly similar to Coral snakes. The easiest way to differentiate the two is to analyze the position of the stripes.
With Pueblan Milk Snakes, the red stripe always touches the black stripe. For their venomous doppelganger, the red stripe touches a yellow stripe.
Overall, Pueblan Milk Snakes are relatively thin. The head is quite small, too. Instead of a triangular head like other species, the head on a Pueblan Milk Snake is round and uniform.
Pueblan Milk Snake Care
Pueblan Milk Snake care is usually managed best by an owner who has some prior experience caring for reptile. However, we wouldn’t consider them to be “difficult” snakes to keep.
For the most part, Pueblan Milk Snakes are hardy and adapt well to captive living. They’re not high-maintenance like some of the other popular species out there.
Of course, following established care guidelines is always important. These snakes require a well-maintained habitat to truly thrive. Below are some need-to-know care tips and recommendations to follow.
One great thing about Pueblan Milk Snakes is that they don’t require a ton of room. Even snakes that reach the upper ends of the size spectrum do fine in moderately-sized enclosures.
Many owners opt for a 40-gallon tank. As far as dimensions go, the enclosure should measure roughly 36 inches long, 24 inches deep, and 24 inches tall.
A slightly larger home is fine, too. Unlike other species, Pueblan Milk Snakes aren’t affected too much by having an over-sized home.
The best kind of enclosure for these snakes is going to be one that opens up from the front. Standard tanks that open from the top work well, too.
Either way, make sure that the enclosure has a screen side or large vents. This will help to keep humidity levels under control.
Above all else, make sure that your enclosure is tightly sealed and built to prevent your snake from going on an adventure in your home. Pueblan Milk Snakes are notorious escape artists, so invest in locks and strong clips!
How To Set Up Their Habitat
Pueblan Milk Snakes prefer well-decorated habitats filled with plenty of enrichment items. When you’re choosing decorations, go for items that are going to help keep the environment in good condition.
Let’s start with the substrate. This species prefers low to moderate humidity levels. This means a substrate material that absorbs a lot of moisture will not work well.
Instead, go for something like beech woodchips. It holds onto enough moisture without raising humidity levels too high or growing mold.
Expert Tip: If you’d prefer something more natural, you can also use a soil and clay mixture. This closely resembles their natural environment in Mexico.
Housing is important, too. Provide at least two spacious hides that the snake can use for shelter. They should be placed on opposite sides of the enclosure so that the snake doesn’t have to choose between comfortable temperatures and security.
Natural and artificial decorations can be used sparingly throughout the enclosure. Use things like caves, cork wood pieces, and tall plants to give the snake plenty of shelter from the light.
Rocks can be beneficial to Pueblan Milk Snakes. Natural slate rocks are a favorite among owners because they hold onto heat well. The snake will use the rocks to enjoy some under-belly heat.
Temperature & Lighting
When you’re setting up your snake’s home, you’ll need to create a temperature gradient. Like most snakes, Pueblan Milk Snakes will regulate their body temperature on their own.
In order for them to do this, there needs to be both a cool and warm area in the enclosure. Below are the temperatures to keep in mind:
- On the cool side: temperatures can get as low as 70°F
- On the hot side: use a basking lamp to raise temperatures to roughly 85°F
Many owners even bump basking spot up to 90 degrees to closely mimic those hot Mexican days.
All of your lights, including the basking lamp, should be on for 10 to 12 hours a day. For the rest of the time, leave things dark. These snakes are crepuscular, which means that they are active at dusk and dawn. That standard day and night cycle is paramount.
At night, you still need to provide some warmth. Use an under-tank heat mat in the basking spot to keep temperatures above 80 degrees. This mat should only be on when the basking light is turned off.
You can utilize a linear UVB light of 5 to 6 percent. But, it’s not necessary. Unlike other reptiles, Pueblan Milk Snakes don’t need that UVB exposure for calcium.
Owners often utilize UVB lamps to support live plants instead. They can also help your snake distinguish between day and night hours when set on a timer.
Humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent are optimal for Pueblan Milk Snakes.
It’s important to consistently check and monitor those levels with a hygrometer. There’s a balance between having too must humidity and not having enough!
Pueblan Milk Snakes prefer to have access to spacious water bowls. This water source will most often be used for soaking. Snakes will often soak to cool off or help with shedding.
Expert Tip: Make sure that the bowl is large enough for the snake to curl up inside and fully submerse themselves.
Keep an eye on the water conditions in the bowl. Replace the water daily and take care of any messes that occur throughout the day.
Food & Diet
In the wild, Pueblan Milk Snakes are highly opportunistic eaters. They are carnivores, so they’ll eat any animal that they can get access to. This includes everything from mice to other reptiles!
In captivity, feeding a Pueblan Milk Snake is not difficult at all. They do best on thawed frozen mice. You can transition from small pinkies up to jumbo mice as your snake grows.
As a good rule of thumb, the mice you feed should be one and half times as thick as the girthiest part of the snake’s body.
When your snake is a juvenile, you’ll need to provide small pinkies every week. As they get older, you can pull back on frequent feedings. Adults need feeding once every other week to prevent gaining too much weight.
Possible Health Issues
There are no species-specific ailments that affect Pueblan Milk Snakes. But, they are susceptible to all of the common snake diseases that captive reptiles experience.
One of the most common diseases relates to suboptimal humidity levels. Too much humidity causes respiratory infections, which leads to inflammation in the mouth and nostrils. Keep an eye on those humidity levels and use antibiotics to treat the condition.
Other than respiratory infections, snakes can also suffer from diseases caused by a dirty environment. Bacterial and fungal infections can wreak havoc on your snake’s immune system, so you need to clean the enclosure regularly.
It’s important to spot clean messes daily (don’t get lazy). This means picking up any feces and replacing dirty water with fresh water.
Every four weeks, do a deep clean of the tank. Remove your snake and every single decoration. Use a reptile disinfectant to clean every decoration and surface. This will get rid of potentially harmful bacteria and freshen up the habitat.
Behavior & Temperament
Pueblan Milk Snakes are solitary creatures. They can be kept in bonded pairs, but this is a tricky process that’s best left to the professionals.
Because they’re so used to staying alone, these snakes can be a bit skittish. They’re known to quickly slither into hiding when owners try to handle them.
Expert Tip: During the day, you won’t see much activity from Pueblan Milk Snakes. They spend most of their time basking or hiding. However, they get a bit more active during the transition between night and day.
One thing you should be wary of is escape attempts! These snakes are quite cunning. Thanks to their slender bodies, they can easily fit through small gaps. Make sure to secure your tank lids to ensure that your snake doesn’t get out.
Handling a Pueblan Milk Snake can be tricky at first. They’re naturally shy and do not like being held.
While bites are rare, these snakes do have a rather interesting defense mechanism. They will release a pungent musk that’s difficult to get rid of. It’s not dangerous, but the smell is definitely not something you want wafting through your home!
Over time though, Pueblan Milk Snakes will open up to the idea of being held. It’s all about building trust.
If you want to handle your snake, go slow and don’t make any sudden movement.
If your snake shows signs of stress or fear, give them space. It takes time, but eventually, the snake will be less fearful of your hand.
Once that happens, support their body and slowly lift them from the enclosure. Give the snake some time to settle before making any major movements away from their habitat.
The more you handle your Pueblan Milk Snake, the more comfortable they will be! It’s quite a rewarding feeling when you finally break through and earn their trust.
Feeling Up To It?
By now you should have a solid understanding of Pueblan Milk Snake care (and the species in general).
This is an incredibly unique and beautiful reptile that we recommend to anyone who feels up to the task. They do require a bit of effort at times but think it’s definitely worth it!
If you have any lingering questions about this species that weren’t answered in this care sheet, feel free to get in touch with us directly. We love helping and connecting with our readers.