Compare and Contrast Coral vs Milk Snake

Many people find it difficult to determine a coral snake from the milk snake (also known as the scarlet snake) because, they are so much alike. Being able to distinguish the coral from the milk snake is very important and could become the matter of life or death especially if accidentally bitten. Although the coral snake and milk snake share many similarities, they certainly have their differences as well. Milk snakes are appealing to the eye in relevance to their size and color. Milk snakes grow to an average of two feet long and have red, black, and yellow bands that encircle their body.

However, the milk snake has red bands touching black ones indicating that they are harmless. Found throughout many areas of the United States, forested and wooded areas are typically home to the milk snake. On the other hand, in some cases they can be located in rocky lands or even in open prairies. Although the milk snake belongs to the colubridae family, they are still carnivores. Their diet typically consists of rodents, eggs, reptiles and other small invertebrates. Since milk snakes are nocturnal and like to blend in with leaves or trees, they have an advantage when hunting for food.

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Milk snakes will kill their prey through strangulation and then swallow their lifeless meal whole. Usually mating in the early spring, milk snakes like many non-venomous snakes, lay eggs. The milk snake will lay an average of three to nine eggs per clutch. The females will make their nests in rocks, boards, logs or rotting vegetation. It is there where the eggs will sit for about two months until they hatch about three inches in length. Living up to an average of ten to twelve years, the lifespan of the milk snake is a long life. Coral snakes much like the milk snake appear to be very intimidating with their vibrant array of colors.

While coral snakes have red, yellow and black bands that encircle their bodies, they also grow to an average of three to three and a half feet in length. However, the coral snake has red bands touching yellow bands indicating that they are venomous. Coral snakes unlike milk snakes are found in coastal plains ranging from the Carolinas to Louisiana and throughout Florida. Coral snakes are carnivorous, but unlike the milk snake, have a different approach of hunting. Coral snakes have the capability to stay hidden making it easy for them to capture their prey.

Having a similar diet to the milk snake, Coral snakes feed on smaller snakes, lizards, birds and rodents. The coral snake will use it’s highly toxic venom to kill its prey; sending it into cardiac arrest and respiratory failure in order to swallow it whole. Unlike any venomous snake found in the United Sates, the coral snake is the only one that lays eggs. Mating season for the coral snake occurs in the late spring to early fall every year. Laying an average of two to thirty-seven eggs per clutch, the gestational period for the coral snake is a little over a month.

Their babies on average are about seven inches long, with the short lifespan that has only been noted to be seven years in captivity. After reviewing these basic areas, it’s safe to say that these two fascinating snakes are unique in their own ways. Just so that it’s crystal clear, people commonly forget to think about the order of color when determining the difference between the coral snake and milk snake. A quick and easy way to distinguish the coral from the milk snake is by remembering this short rhyme; “Red touches yellow, kills a fellow; Red touches black, a friend of Jack. Being able to identify between the coral snake and milk snake is important and can be a matter of life or death if bitten. To sum it all up, coral snakes and milk snakes; though different in many ways, do share common qualities.


Thursday, March 10, 2011 – http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Milk_snake Thursday, March 10, 2011 – http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=FvDpbjSRpuc Friday, March 11, 2011 – http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Coral_snake Picture Reference Friday, March 11, 2011 – http://www. aaanimalcontrol. com/blog/red-touch-yellow. html

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Compare and Contrast Coral vs Milk Snake. (2017, Mar 25). Retrieved from