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Milk vs King?

Discussion in 'Colubrids *General*' started by Rocky's Dad, Nov 10, 2004.

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  1. Rocky's Dad

    Rocky's Dad Elite Member

    Posted this on RF, as well, but no answers yet...

    Can someone tell me what distinguishes a Milk Snake from a King? Are there physical characteristics apart from markings/color schemes? I have never found a concise answer to this - just that one is a sub-group of the other (I assume similar to the way that Corn Snakes are really a sub-group of Rat Snakes?).

    Can anyone shed any more light on this in a definitive manner for me?
  2. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Milksnakes and kings are all pretty much the same thing. They're all in the genus Lampropeltis. The difference is that there are many different species of kingsnakes, one of those species is called the milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulatum). Now there's only one species of milksnake, but within that species are many subspecies, and that's why there are more than one kind of milksnake. Example: Lampropeltis triangulatum triangulatum (eastern milksnake), Lampropeltis triangulatum annulata (mexican milksnake). Like you mentioned, its similar to the corn snake. Corns aren't really different from rat snakes, they're just another species of rat snake, that just happens to not have "rat" in its name unless you go by its alias, the red rat snake). Like the rest of tha rats, its still in the genus Elaphe. Corns, like milks, also have subspecies, including the great plains rat snake (Elaphe guttata emoryi).
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Add to the confusion that scarlet kingsnakes are (currently) considered milksnakes.

    (from an article in Reptiles USA 2005 Annual! :D )
    The main feature that separates milksnakes is teeth. The milks have 2 longer and stouter back teeth than the teeth in front of them. the rest of the kings don't.
  4. Rocky's Dad

    Rocky's Dad Elite Member

    Ah-ha! There it is! Thanks for the info guys.
  5. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Interesting. I wonder why they do and the other kings don't? I'll have to ask one next time I see one ;)
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