Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Red Milk Snake

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)

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID

47 Comments (1–25)

NeilDazet 8 years ago

Thanks Ken, this is one of my favorites. Yes, posting exact spotting locations has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the species and circumstances of the spotting. On the project noah blog, there is a post on this very topic:

KenCheeks 8 years ago

I like the way that you post approximate locations for reptiles to deter collectors. I plan to adopt this practice. You have some great postings, but I really like this milk snake.

NeilDazet 8 years ago

@brandonryanfig01 it did not bite me, the snake was calm and docile. :)

brandonryanfig01 8 years ago

Did you get bit

NeilDazet 8 years ago

Thank you Melissa. This is one of my favorites!

MelissaFerguson 8 years ago

Great information and wonderful photographs!

NeilDazet 8 years ago

Thanks Mayra!

MayraSpringmann 8 years ago


NeilDazet 8 years ago

Thank you Zach, discovery3, Carol and Jeannette!

Jeannette 8 years ago

Congratulations, a bit late :)

CarolSnowMilne 8 years ago

I was on Project Noah earlier and didn't even see you got Spot of the Day! Congratulations! I just found out this minute. Awesome!

discovery3 8 years ago

Snakes are really cool!

ZachT 8 years ago

Awesome! Nothing like seeing a snake stretched out across the path.

NeilDazet 8 years ago

Thank you Gopal, juanma1, and Laura!!!

Gopal murali
Gopal murali 8 years ago

Congrats sir..nice close up of very cute snake :)and the myth is very interesting in India also people offer milk as they worship them you can see one in the following link

LauraMaria 8 years ago

Neil, congrats on Spotting of the Day! This is well deserved, what a beauty of a snake this guy is! Wish my connection would let me watch videos, it will have to wait until I'm home :) The photos are stunning though!

NeilDazet 8 years ago

Thank you for your compliments manuelap1, Lars, Leuba, Willie, Larry, Maria, Ashish, Jellis, Atul, Shannon, Sachin, Satyen (and anyone I might have missed!). Know that your words here are very much appreciated!

LarsKorb 8 years ago

Congratulations, Neil!

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 8 years ago

Great pics and video of a good looking snake, Neil. Congratulations !!

williefromwi 8 years ago

My second comment, is to say Congrats Neil on your great series, and for SOTD

LarryGraziano 8 years ago

Great shot and series Neil. Congrats on SOTD!

Maria dB
Maria dB 8 years ago

Congratulations, Neil! The video is a really nice addition!

Ashish Nimkar
Ashish Nimkar 8 years ago

Lovely close up of King...!!

Jellis 8 years ago

In California we have one similar to that but it has a solid black face and it's called the California Mountain Kingsnake.

ShannonMorton 8 years ago

Bravo! - great picture

Spotted by

Missouri, USA

Spotted on Jun 24, 2012
Submitted on Jun 25, 2012

Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors

Join the Project Noah Team Join Project Noah Team