Friday, August 28, 2009
The Eastern Milksnake
This photo is extracted from the document www.scisnake.com/download/snakesreferenceguide.pdf.
"Eastern Milk Snake: A slender species, with a beige background and brown to reddish blotches on the back. The belly has a black and white checkerboard pattern. They are often mistaken for rattlesnakes since they will vibrate their tail rapidly when threatened, which can produce a buzzing sound if it contacts the ground. Once believed to milk cows, hence the name, but like all snakes they only drink water! Farmers now realize the great benefit of this snake, as its primary diet is rodents. Milk snakes also prey on other snakes, including venomous species, as they are immune to the toxins. These snakes rarely exceed one metre in length. Milk snakes are found throughout southern Ontario."
The Eastern Milksnake is Ontario's only constrictor snake (kills prey by crushing it - think of the boa constrictor but only mouse sized).It is a very shiny snake. Freda and I saw one about a foot long that was roadkill and I actually thought it was a toy (fake) since it was so shiny! I have seen a baby snake (about 6 inches long maybe) around our house, and another about a foot long when I was turning the compost. The Eastern Milksnake is so shy, it doesn't sun itself directly on top of rocks, etc, but indirectly (like in the composter).