Introduction

As a group, milk snakes are among the most popular snakes currently kept by reptile enthusiasts. As a result, only a few milk snake subspecies are still collected in some numbers from the wild; most are captive-bred and have become increasingly available in the general pet trade.

Milk snakes are one of several species of kingsnakes that are very "convenient" to keep in captivity.  Their small size, simple cage requirements, easily supplied diet (for most subspecies), adaptability to life in captivity, and great beauty have made them popular with beginning hobbyists as well as with more advanced herpetoculturists.  Their bright, sharply contrasting colors (red/orange, black, and white/yellow bands circle the body in most milk snakes) and crisp
patterns invariably tend to elicit "Oh!" and "Ah!" exclamations from non-reptile enthusiasts as well.

As of 1988, Williams recognized 25 subspecies of the milk snake Lampropeltis triangulum.  This number may ultimately vary depending on the particular taxonomic trend governing the field of herpetology at a particular point in time.   Many of these subspecies of milk snakes have been successfully reproduced in captivity for many generations and their maintenance has become almost a recipe.   On the other hand, subspecies recently discovered or which are very rare in collections,
and new color variations which are occasionally turning up, need much more work before their "recipe" for captive care and breeding can be published.

My goal with this book is to provide you with essential information for the long-term care and maintenance of this beautiful and variable species of snake.  I have chosen to present this in an informal manner, writing as if we were in the same room carrying on a conversation.  Most of what is contained in this book are my personal opinions, based on many years of my own experience and the shared knowledge of others.  An additional goal, should you choose to be a part of this program, is to provide you with the information needed to reproduce the species in captivity and provide additional specimens for the public, thereby reducing the need and demand to collect large numbers of additional wild specimens.  Besides establishing alternate populations of possibly
uncommon or rare species, you will also benefit from being able to enhance your personal income. I am a strong advocate of "Conservation Through Captive Propagation."

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