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Big and Beautiful, the Black Milk Snake by Richard Bartlett on 2021-11-29 00:17:00


Juvenile color and patterning may remain visible until the Black Milk Snake is nearing adulthood.


Lampropeltis triangulum gaigeae is an Interesting Milk Snake. Brightly tricolored at hatching, not only does this subspecies undergo rather remarkable ontogenetic changes, but this Central American (Costa Rica and Panama) subspecies is also the longest and probably the heftiest of the milk snakes, attaining the rather remarkable length of 7 feet when adult!

Hatchlings are 10-12 inches long, a notable length for any member of this group, and they are strongly tricolored and can easily consume pinkies. By the time a hatchling has undergone 2 or 3 sheds, a suffusion of melanism will be seen dulling the hatchling brilliance somewhat and by the time the snake is a subadult there will be no doubt about its parentage. It has been many years since I last kept tricolors of any subspecies, but I still recall the amazement felt when I compared hatchling photos with those taken as growth ensued. Try this beauty yourself. I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised. And strangely, in these days of upwardly spiraling hobbyist costs, I think that the price of Black Milk Snake hatchlings remains comparatively affordable.

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