Milk Snakes And Coral Snakes

8 Key Differences Between Milk Snakes And Coral Snakes

Coral snakes and milk snakes are often mistaken for each other, which makes sense since they look so much alike.

After all, they both have bright colours and many of the same markings.

Is it possible to tell the difference?

Yes, but there are some important differences.

One is dangerous, and the other is not. Also, one is bigger than the other.

They eat different things and kill their prey in different ways.

But that’s not all. Come with us to learn about all the ways they are different and how to tell which ones are dangerous.

Coral Snake Overview

The United States is home to both the eastern coral snake (Micrurus fulvius) and the Arizona coral snake (Micruroides euryxanthus).

Compared to other snakes, coral snakes are small, but they are very dangerous.

In fact, their venom is thought to be even more dangerous than that of the black mamba. But most people don’t die from coral snake bites because of how they deliver the poison.

Also, coral snakes don’t bite very often unless they are stepped on or touched. If you want to keep a coral snake as a pet, you shouldn’t touch it unless you’ve been trained to do so.


Coral snakes are predators just like other snakes. In the wild, they eat lizards, frogs, birds, and even other snakes. Coral snakes can eat mice when they are kept as pets.

Milk Snakes And Coral Snakes

You don’t have to feed your snake live mice unless you’re having trouble getting it to eat. Coral snakes can live for a few weeks without food in the wild, so you don’t have to feed yours every day.

Enclosure & Care

Your coral snake should have enough room to move around in a cage that is at least 20 to 30 gallons.

Coral snakes like to hide, so make sure there are lots of branches, leaves, and gravel in the cage. Because these snakes are good at getting out of their cages, you need to make sure the cage is secure.

A poisonous snake running around your house could be dangerous, especially if you have kids or other family members who don’t know much about snakes.

The temperature inside the enclosure should be kept between 77° and 90° F. Snakes are cold-blooded animals that won’t eat if it’s too cold outside.

As a result, it’s critical that the temperature in your snake’s enclosure be just right.

You should also keep the lights in the enclosure set up so that there is light for 10 to 12 hours a day and no light at night.

Suitable for

Only people who know how to take care of snakes should keep coral snakes. They are not good for families with kids because kids don’t always understand what is safe, and a coral snake bite can kill.

Milk Snake Overview

Coral snakes can be replaced by milk snakes, which don’t have poison.

In the Americas, they are a common type of snake. Milk snakes can be mistaken for coral snakes because of their bright red, black, and yellow patterns.

Use the rhyme “red touches yellow, kills a guy” to remember which North American snake is poisonous.

A milk snake’s yellow bands don’t touch its red bands, but a coral snake’s small yellow bands touch its larger red bands.


Both milk snakes and coral snakes eat a lot of the same things. Like coral snakes, they eat frogs, birds, rodents, and other snakes in the wild.

Adult milk snakes can eat adult mice and rats, but young milk snakes can only eat pinky mice or newborn mice. Plan to feed your milk snake once a week when it’s an adult.

Milk snakes, unlike coral snakes, are not dangerous to handle. But that doesn’t mean they won’t get angry or defensive at first.

To keep from getting bitten, treat your snake with care and hold its whole body so it doesn’t fall.

Once your snake is used to being handled, you can take it out of its cage and put it in a separate feeding container. Your snake will learn when to expect food.

Milk Snakes And Coral Snakes

Enclosure & Care

The enclosure for your milk snake should be at least 3 feet long. These snakes can get very big, so they need room to move around.

The temperature of the cage should be between 70°F and 90°F. Keeping the enclosure at the right temperature can be done with a heating pad.

When it comes to the substrate, there are several options. People also like to use aspen bedding, reptile bark, and cypress bedding. Like coral snakes, milk snakes like to hide, so it’s important to give your pet a place to hide or a shelter.

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Suitable for

Instead of coral snakes, milk snakes are great snakes for beginners. They are not too big for most people who want to own a snake, and they can easily fit in a normal enclosure.

They are also easy to handle, and while getting bitten by a milk snake can be painful, it won’t kill you.

Comparing Milk Snake vs Coral Snake

People often mix up milk snakes and coral snakes because they are both very brightly coloured and have smooth, shiny scales.

Coral snakes are classified into two groups: Old World and New World.They live in different parts of the world.

There are about 65 coral snake species in the New World and 16 in the Old World.

Milk snakes are a type of snake. They are in the genus Lampropeltis, which in Greek means “bright shields.”

The scarlet kingsnake was once thought to be one of the 24 subspecies of milk snake.

There are a lot of differences between the different coral snake species and milk snake subspecies, but there are a few key differences that help you tell them apart.

Check out the chart below to see some of the most important differences.

Milk SnakeCoral Snake
Size14 to 69 inchesTypically 18 to 20 inches, although New World can reach 36 inches
LocationNorth America and South AmericaAsia (Old World coral snakes)
The Americas (New World coral snakes)
HabitatVaries – forest, fields, rocky areasForest areas, burrowed underground or under leaves
In desert regions burrowed under sand or soil
ColorBanded coloration – often red, black, and yellow or varying shades. Darker colors outlined by blackBrightly colored – usually black, red, and yellow bands. Black bands outlined by yellow
DietMice, rats, voles, lizards, bird, bird eggs, snakes, snake eggsFrogs, lizards, other snakes
Kill methodWrap themselves around their prey until they are deadParalyze and subdue prey with their venom
Lifespan15 to 20 years7 years

The Key Differences Between Coral Snakes and Milk Snakes

Coral Snake vs Milk Snake: Color

Depending on the subspecies, a milk snake’s pattern of black, red, and white bands can look different. The bands may be clear or hazy, but the effect as a whole is quite stunning. On the other hand, coral snakes have many different colour patterns.

They always have clear black, yellow, and red bands on their bodies. Overall, the effect is not nearly as strong as that of a milk snake.

This rhyme will help you remember the difference between these two snakes: “Red touches black, Jack is safe; red touches yellow, a guy gets killed.”

This is a reference to the fact that in North America, coral snakes are always red up to the yellow part of their bodies, but milk snakes are usually red up to the black part of their bodies.

There are, of course, always exceptions to the rule, so it’s best to play it safe and avoid touching either kind of snake.

Coral Snake vs Milk Snake: Venom

The venom is one of the most important ways that milk snakes and coral snakes are different.

Milk snakes don’t have poison, so they don’t hurt people.

Because they lack fangs and have few teeth, even a bite is not dangerous.

On the other hand, coral snakes are very dangerous and have the second-strongest poison of any snake.

Their teeth are small and fixed, and their venom is full of very powerful neurotoxins that hurt the brain’s ability to control the muscles.

Symptoms include throwing up, being paralyzed, having trouble speaking, having muscles twitch, and even dying.

Coral Snake vs Milk Snake: Size

A milk snake can get up to 2 to 5 feet long, while a coral snake can get up to 2 to 4 feet long. Depending on the subspecies, a milk snake can grow to be as long as 6 or 7 feet. On the other hand, coral snakes are all about the same size.

Coral Snake vs Milk Snake: Habitat

Milk snakes and coral snakes live in very different places. First of all, milk snakes live in many different places, like forests, pastures, and even cities.

On the other hand, coral snakes only live in tropical and subtropical areas. This means that you’ll probably have to go somewhere warmer if you want to find a coral snake.

Another big difference between these two snake species is that milk snakes are usually more active during the day than coral snakes are. This is probably because coral snakes need to stay cool and avoid the heat of the day.

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Lastly, milk snakes often eat other animals, including other snakes. Coral snakes, on the other hand, usually eat mostly lizards and rats.

This difference in diet is probably because coral snakes are poisonous and milk snakes are not.

If you ever need to find a snake, write down where it lives, how active it is, and what it eats. You can tell if you are looking at a milk snake or a coral snake by looking at these three things.

Coral Snake vs Milk Snake: Diet

One of the things that sets milk snakes and coral snakes apart is what they eat. Milk snakes are carnivores. They eat small mammals, reptiles, and birds.

On the other hand, coral snakes mostly eat plants like berries and fruits. This difference in diet is probably because these two types of snakes live in different places.

Milk snakes tend to live in wooded areas where there are lots of small mammals and reptiles to hunt. Coral snakes, on the other hand, tend to live in tropical areas where there are more fruits and plants to eat.

Coral Snake vs Milk Snake: Snout

A milk snake has a round nose, but a coral snake has a pointy nose. This is one way to tell the two kinds of snakes apart.

Coral Snake vs Milk Snake: Behavior

One of the biggest differences between milk snakes and coral snakes is how they act. Coral snakes tend to be more aggressive, while milk snakes tend to be calm.

This difference in behaviour is most likely caused by the fact that milk snakes eat mostly insects and coral snakes eat mostly meat.

Coral snakes will strike even when they don’t feel threatened, while milk snakes will only strike when they feel threatened. Since coral snake bites are much more dangerous than milk snake bites, this difference in behaviour can kill people.

Coral Snake vs Milk Snake: Care

Milk snakes are often kept as pets because they are calm and have beautiful colors. Here’s everything you need to know about taking care of a milk snake if you’re thinking about getting one.

When it comes to housing, a basic 10-gallon tank is usually enough for young snakes.

Adult snakes need a bigger place to live, like a 20-gallon tank. Milk snakes like to hide when they feel threatened, so it’s important to give them a place to do that in the enclosure.

Most milk snakes are carnivores, and they mostly eat rodents. In captivity, milk snakes can be fed mice or rats that have already been killed.

It is important to give the snake food that is right for its size. For example, a baby milk snake shouldn’t be given a mouse that is the size of an adult.

There is also a lot of water in a milk snake’s diet. There should always be a big enough bowl of water for the snake to soak in. Most of the time, milk snakes will drink every day from their water bowl.

When it comes to temperature, milk snakes like things to be warm. The enclosure should have a warm spot, about 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, where the reptile can warm up. The temperature should be around 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the rest of the enclosure.

Milk snakes are easy to take care of, and with the right care, they could make great pets!

Coral snakes are some of the most beautiful, but also most dangerous, snakes on Earth. If you find one, you’ll need to know how to take care of it properly.

First of all, coral snakes are very dangerous. If you are not careful, they can kill you quickly. So, they should be handled with the utmost care.

Wear gloves whenever you touch a coral snake so you don’t get bit. If you get bitten, you should go to the hospital right away because the venom is very dangerous.

Once you have the coral snake under control, you will need to give it the right environment. Coral snakes like places that are warm and have a lot of humidity. A glass aquarium with a lid that fits tightly is ideal.

Put a few inches of sand or soil in the tank, then add rocks and places for the snake to hide to make it feel safe. You can also put real plants in there, but make sure they won’t hurt the snakes.

Coral snakes are carnivores, which means that they eat other snakes, small mammals, and lizards. You can buy live food or pre-killed food for your coral snake at a pet store. If you decide to feed your coral snake live food, keep an eye on it at all times to make sure nothing goes wrong.

To keep your coral snake healthy and happy, you should always have fresh water available and clean its cage often. If it is cared for well, a coral snake can live in a home for up to 20 years.

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History and Key Facts

The North American milk snake is a type of king snake. Milk snakes don’t bite and can grow to be between 3 and 5 feet long. The name “milk snake” comes from an old wives’ tale that says these snakes drink cows’ milk.

Milk snakes make good pets because they are calm and come in many different colours (patterns). If cared for well, these snakes can live up to 20 years in a home.

Most wild milk snakes live in wooded areas, but you can also find them in fields, on prairies, and even close to human settlements. At night, these snakes hunt small animals, reptiles, and frogs.

Milk snakes are not currently considered to be threatened or endangered, but their numbers have gone down in some places where their habitat has been destroyed.

Coral snakes are some of the snakes with the most poison on Earth. Their poison is very dangerous, and if it isn’t treated right away, it can lead to serious health problems or even death.

Even though they have a bad reputation, coral snakes are actually pretty shy and only attack people when they feel threatened.

There are many different kinds of coral snakes all over the world. However, they tend to live in tropical and subtropical areas. Coral snakes are mostly red, yellow, and black, which is why people in Australia call them “red-bellied black snakes.”

Coral snakes are small and thin. Most species have a diameter of 1 inch (2.54 cm).

Most coral snake venom is neurotoxic, which means it hurts the nerves. If this isn’t treated right away, it could lead to paralysis, trouble breathing, or even death.

On the other hand, coral snake bites are very rare because these snakes are usually quiet and don’t bother people.

Even though there is no specific antivenin for coral snake bites, treatment focuses on managing symptoms and helping the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for staying alive.

Coral snakes are interesting animals that have scared people for a long time. Even though their poison is very dangerous, they are very shy and only bite people when they feel threatened.

Milk Snakes And Coral Snakes

If they get good medical care, most people who are bitten by a coral snake will get better completely.

Similarities Between Milk Snake And Coral Snake

People sometimes mix up the milk snake and the coral snake because they look alike. Both species have patterns of red, yellow, and black, but the order of these colours is different.

The milk snake has bands that are wide, thin, and wide again. The coral snake, on the other hand, has bands that are thin, wide, and thin in the order yellow, red, and black.

Both come out at night to hunt small animals and reptiles. Both of them are great swimmers. Coral snakes are more aggressive than milk snakes, and if they feel threatened, they will often strike. Milk snakes, on the other hand, will usually run away first.

Before deciding if a snake with red, yellow, and black stripes is a milk snake or a coral snake, pay attention to the order of the colors. Even though these two species look alike, they act and live in very different ways.

Which Breed Is Right for You?

The milk snake is better for most homes than the coral snake because it is not poisonous and is therefore easier and safer to handle. Even though the milk snake gets bigger than the coral snake, it can still live in a normal cage, so it can be kept in most homes.

But if you have owned snakes before and know how to handle poisonous ones, the coral snake may be the best choice.

If you do get a coral snake, don’t let anyone who doesn’t know how to handle snakes touch it or put their hands in its cage. If a coral snake bites you or someone you know, go to the hospital right away.

Princy Hoang
See more articles in this category: Snakes

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