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MILK SNAKE

 

 

Picture of a red milk snake

Picture of a pale milk snake

 

 

Area where milk snakes are found in South Dakota

 

 

 

 

Characteristics:

* Upper body with red and orange blotches bordered with black, separated by yellow or white bands. The belly is whitish with irregular black markings

* Two subspecies are found in South Dakota

* Red milk snake (top), red head and snout

* Pale milk snake (bottom), orange head with black flecks

* Smooth scales

* Often mistaken for the poisonous coral snake (not found in South Dakota) and often killed. "Red touch yellow kill a fellow, red touch black good for jack"

* Nonvenomous

* Diet: small vertebrates, including snakes, lizards, and mice

* Habitat: open prairies, sand dunes, and rocky hillsides near water sources

* Distribution: the red milk snake is found in the extreme southeastern counties. The pale milk snake is found in the counties adjacent to and west of the Missouri River.