Ernst and E.M. Ernst Furthermore, the taking of snakes from the wild for export or commercial purposes is prohibited in Maine. Regularly inspect the fence to be sure that holes haven't been opened under it, and that items have not been piled against the outside. [4][7] The pattern on the top and sides of the snake has also been described as three (or possibly five) series of black-bordered brown (reddish brown sometimes) blotches along the length of the snake on a gray or tan ground. It was once thought by herpetologists to intergrade with Lampropeltis elapsoides, the scarlet kingsnake, in a portion of its southern range, but this has been disproved. Larger snakes add amphibians, small rodents, nestling birds and fish to their diet. Also, people sometimes kill Eastern Milk Snakes because of their resemblance to the Northern Copperhead Snake. Milk snakes typically have 19 to 23 rows of scales, which are incredibly smooth. History Central, "Eastern Milk Snake ". For most species, courtship and mating occurs shortly after snakes emerge from hibernation. The common garter snake, the most wide-ranging reptile in North America, is also the most abundant snake in Maine. Instead, the scales are smooth and their surface appears glossy. Because fish compete with snakes for amphibians, making the pond fish-free will provide most snakes with the best opportunity for feeding. Snakes usually enter at ground level, so sealing all ground-level holes or cracks can prevent their access. You can also use a long pole, stick or golf club to pick a snake up and place it in a box or wastebasket to transport outdoors. Snakes have hinged jaws that allow them to consume food that is wider than their bodies. Mow grass and weeds around the fence. Of the nine species currently found in Maine (Table 1), none is capable of inflicting a venomous bite. Many snakes feed on tadpoles, adult frogs and invertebrates found in and around ponds. (see Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) Snakes are an important part of the natural food web; they eat rodents, birds, frogs, insects, and on occasion other snakes. Snakes have forked tongues that deposit air molecules on receptors in the mouth; thus, snakes "taste" the air, which helps them locate prey and sense their way in the dark. These snakes lay their eggs in well-drained, protected areas. Emergence from hibernation can begin as early as March, depending on the species, location and snow cover. They are generally small animals that will likely die from lack of food or moisture if not captured and removed. More generally, you can support public acquisition of greenbelts, remnant forests, and other wild areas in your community and join a local conservation organization, land trust or habitat enhancement project. Those spots that occur in the middle of the back are much larger than those along the sides. Snakes of the United States and Canada This age might be exceptional for a wild snake, but little is known on this subject. The device may be left in place for a month or longer to allow time for the snake to leave. But, unlike mammals, snakes have no sense of smell associated with their breathing cycle. In Maine, five species of snakes are keeled, that is, they have a keel or ridge running along the midline of each scale from front to back, making the scales appear rough. A snake fence should slant outward at a 30-degree angle toward the area containing snakes. If someone has been bitten, clean and sterilize the wound as you would any cut or abrasion. To provide safe spaces on your property for snakes: Figure 7: Drawing Credit - Because snakes are particularly active and less wary during the breeding season, spring is a good time to be on the lookout for them. Written by: R. Link Adapted from: "Living with Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest" Like the red-bellied snake, smooth green snakes rarely bite. Temporarily cap one end and close off the other end with a cap that has a one-inch hole drilled through the center. Design and layout: Peggy Ushakoff, ITT2 All snakes tend to be inconspicuous, preferring to move away and hide or lie still in the hope of being overlooked. Illustrations: As credited Even if it does, the smell may not be noxious enough to drive the snake in another direction. [9], Juvenile eastern milk snake in Massachusetts, Eastern milk snake at the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Michigan, http://www.vmsherp.com/CarePages/CareMilks.htm, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eastern_milk_snake&oldid=946910722, Taxa named by Bernard Germain de Lacépède, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the Encyclopedia Americana with a Wikisource reference, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 23 March 2020, at 03:14. Additional mortality may be caused from snakes becoming entwined in erosional/vegetative netting or becoming trapped in deep storm-water culverts. If you find a snake skin and want to try to identify the species, consult the books and internet sites listed under "Additional Resources". Augusta, ME 04333-0041, Mailing Address: Maine Amphibians and Reptiles First of all, remain calm. Observe snakes, like all wild animals, from a respectful distance. Snakes store food as fat and can live off their fat reserve for extended periods of time. Every detail is preserved, including the scales and eye covers. Garter snakes have lived as long as 18 years in captivity. (Fig. Cats are effective hunters and can severely decrease the snake population. If a snake gets into a building accidentally: These animals will usually attempt to escape because the "habitat" is unsuitable. The basic color of this snake is gray to tan. [3] The nonvenomous, colubrid snake is indigenous to eastern and central North America. The hand warmer will gently heat the tube and provide a lure for a cold snake. Besides their ecological value, snakes offer the careful wildlife viewer a chance to watch one of nature's most efficient predators. Never kill a snake. 41 State House Station As the number of snakes goes down, the number of mice, voles and other rodents may increase, resulting in a different variety of problems. As with any injury that breaks the skin, the only concern may be for potential infection. These snakes get their name from their supposed resemblance to the garters that men once wore to hold up their socks. 6). The Eastern Milk Snake usually is secretive and hides under objects such as logs, boards and stones. Nevertheless, even a non-venomous snake will act aggressively when threatened, often striking at its aggressor, rattling its tail, and flattening out its head. Shed skin looks like thin, clear plastic. You can also hire an animal damage control agent or company to do the job. Hunter, A.J.K. Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest To trap a snake (a last resort): Make a live trap from a 24- to 36-inch section of four-inch PVC pipe. Next, as long as it is not inside a house or building, continue to leave it alone. The Eastern Milk Snake ranges throughout much of the northeastern United States from Maine southward in the Appalachians, and westward to parts of Minnesota and Iowa. It is grayish-tan with brown or red-brown streaks, so it blends in readily with most soil. Copperhead Snakes have dark bands of color that cross the back, rather than individual spots or blotches. The dorsal saddles are sometimes reddish or reddish brown in southern areas of its range. The center row of blotches is the largest and alternates with smaller lateral blotches. [8], Like many species of milk snakes, the eastern milk snake is often bred in captivity for the pet trade. Leave snakes alone. The dorsal color pattern consists of brownish dorsal saddles, which are edged with black. Other prey items include insects, birds and their eggs, fish and frogs. Snakes are among the most misunderstood of all animals. 2), Red-bellied snake (Fig. Most of the time, snakes are slow moving, but they can make short dashes to chase prey or escape from predators. Snakes can find easy access to garage areas through open garage doors or under poorly fitting doors. Snakes may even become temporarily blind until the old skin splits at the head and they are able to crawl out. Create a "snake board" by laying a sheet of plywood or corrugated sheet metal on the ground in a sunny location, propping it up on three sides with three-inch rocks, lengths of plastic pipe, or similar objects (Fig. It is environmentally unsound to capture snakes and try to relocate them on your property or keep them as pets. It has smooth and shiny scales. Coyotes, foxes, opossums, raccoons, skunks, weasels, great blue herons, hawks, eagles and owls all prey on snakes. A tracking patch (a bit of talcum powder) in front of the trap will confirm that a snake has entered. They prey on rodents, birds, eggs, other snakes and amphibians. A bite from one of these non-venomous snakes may be alarming, but will rarely break the skin. If possible, slowly place an empty pail or wastebasket over a small or coiled snake until someone else arrives. As with most captive snakes, it tends to thrive on a diet of pre-killed rodents, with the occasional picky neonate requiring a pinky mouse scented with the smell of a lizard. Written by: M.L. Milk snakes are strongly marked with brown or reddish blotches and can grow to more than three feet in length. Due to its coloration and habit of shaking its tail when threatened, the milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) is sometimes confused with the timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus), which has been extirpated from Maine. 5a) and juvenile (Fig. [4], The eastern milk snake ranges from Maine to Ontario in the north to Alabama and North Carolina in the south. Discourage cats from using your yard. Eastern milk snake adult (Fig. Don't attempt to capture them or keep wild snakes as pets. Note: Four species of snakes do not have keels on the scales. 9). Garter snakes can survive in suburbia and towns because of their generalist diet and ability to "live" birth (i.e., they do not require a safe place to lay their eggs). These five species also bear live young from eggs retained in the body until hatching. 4). Because of misconceptions, many people fear snakes and consequently try to eradicate them. Snakes in Maine use these dens to hibernate during winter, either alone or in a group site called a hibernaculum. The Eastern Milk Snake is a relatively slender snake. 1) is found from coastal islands to mountain regions. Suspend the outlet end of the tube off the ground to prevent the returning snake from finding the entry. Often called the grass snake, the smooth green snake (Liochlorophis vernalis), is, as its name suggests, a lovely green color, perfectly camouflaged in its primary habitats of upland meadows, lawns and gardens. Written by: Russell Link, Wildlife Biologist, Email Russell Link, Without the proper permit, it is unlawful to import or possess any snake species that is not on the state's unrestricted wildlife list (PDF). The first thing you should do when encountering a snake, though, is to leave it alone. Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum, commonly known as the eastern milk snake or eastern milksnake, is a subspecies of Lampropeltis triangulum. The reduction of shelter such as rock piles, woodpiles, tall grass not only limits hiding places, but also reduces the habitat used by mice and other rodents, which are a food source for snakes. (In turn, a variety of other animals prey on snakes.) You can tell when it is ready to shed because its eyes look bluish-white and dull. 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