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Animal Care Hospital
Call us today! 319-378-9000
Call us today! 319-378-9000

1146 Blairs Ferry Rd NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

Caring for a Milk Snake

March 1 2019

Are you considering adopting a pet snake? If so, a milk snake may be a great option, especially if you’ve never had a snake before. As your local Marion, IA vet, I am happy to provide veterinary care for reptiles. I discuss some key facets of milk snake care in this blog.

Benefits of Milk Snakes

Milk snakes are a very popular ‘beginner’ snake, and with good reason. There are actually several different types of milk snakes, and, while some are larger than others are, they generally don’t get very large. They have rather docile temperaments, and are often quite gentle, as long as they are handled properly. They’re also absolutely gorgeous! These pretty snakes come in a huge variety of colors. Many of them have two or three different colors, in alternating bands.


Milk snakes need a cage that is at least 3′ x 2′, however, bigger is always better. Your pet will do best in a cage that offers two different temperature zones. That way, he can regulate his body temperature by moving from one area to another. The warmer end of the tank should be in the lower 80’s, while the other end can stay in the low 70’s. Ask your vet for specific advice.


Wild milk snakes tend to hide a lot, so your pet will need some hides to retreat to. This is especially important for baby snakes. Choose a substrate that will allow your snake to burrow down a bit.


Another good thing about milk snakes is that you don’t have to feed them very often. Generally, your pet will need a mouse about every 7 to 10 days. The size of the mouse will change as your snake grows. Baby snakes can eat pinkie mice, while adults can handle larger ones. Larger milk snakes can eat full-sized adult mice easily. As a rule of thumb, your pet’s dinner should be about the same size as the thickest part of his body, or possibly just a little bit larger. Ask your vet for more information.


Although your milk snake won’t eat every day, it is crucial to make sure that he always has plenty of fresh water. This should be changed daily.

Do you have questions about caring for a milk snake? Call me, your local Marion, IA vet, anytime. I am here to help!