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Lampropeltis triangulum syspila
Lampropeltis triangulum syspila is a nonvenomous tri-colored snake with broad red saddle-shaped markings bordered with black separated by pale bands. It feeds on lizards, small snakes, and rodents.
Spotted near a gravel bike path not too far from the Missouri River. Typically this species resides under rocks on rocky, south-facing hillsides. It also may live along the edge of forests where there are some rocks and logs. Winter dormancy is often spent in rodent burrows along rocky hillsides.
The red milk snake is often mistaken for a coral snake, a venomous species that does not occur in Missouri. At one time, some people thought that milk snakes and various subspecies had the ability to suck milk from cows. People now realize the improbability of this behavior and recognize it as only an old myth. Note: the location of this spotting is not exact. As part of good "herping ethics," I've chosen not to reveal the spotting location at the request of a friend who tipped me off to the location. (When news spreads of good herping locations in public forums, often collectors show up to add to their own collections or for profit opportunities in the pet trade or black markets)
Spotted on Jun 24, 2012
Submitted on Jun 25, 2012
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