A Pueblan milk snake is a non-venomous snake that is native to Mexico. It is among the most popular species of snakes in the pet trade because of its hardiness and its brightly colored scales that create rings of black, red and whitish yellow. The colorful rings mimic that of the venomous coral snake, which allows the Pueblan milk snake to protect itself from potential predators when in its natural environment.
Called a milk snake because it was once believed that it sucked milk from cows, the Pueblan milk snake frequently inhabits barns in search of rodents rather than milk. The carnivorous snake consumes rodents, lizards, frogs, birds and snakes, including venomous snakes and even other Pueblan milk snakes. Although this snake is often recommended for first-time snake owners because of its resilience, it can be skittish when first handled. With regular handing, a Pueblan milk snake becomes more docile, but before becoming more acquainted with a new owner, it is known to defecate and discharge a pungent-smelling fluid from its cloaca as a defense mechanism.
Like most breeds of milk snakes, the Pueblan milk snake is nocturnal, or most active at night. One reason for the snake’s nocturnal lifestyle is because the summer months’ hot daytime temperatures become too unbearable for it to thrive. During the chillier months, the snake will venture out during the day but will spend the majority of the time lounging on the cool ground or soaking in waterbeds.
In captivity, a Pueblan milk snake should be kept in a glass enclosure that can hold about 20 gallons (about 75 liters). The enclosure should be kept 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit (about 26-29 degrees Celsius) during the day with a drop of about 10-15 percent at night. Heating pads should be kept underneath the enclosure, and full-spectrum lighting should be aimed over the snake during the day to further ensure that its enclosed environment closely reflects its natural environment. Some areas of shade should be provided where the snake can hide, and branches and logs should be included as areas for climbing.