The Difference Between Milk Snakes and King Snakes: What You Need to Know

What Are Milk Snakes and King Snakes?

Milk snakes and king snakes are two species of non-venomous snakes that are often confused with one another. Both species belong to the Colubridae family, which is the largest snake family in the world. Milk snakes are found throughout North America, while king snakes are found in the United States, Mexico, and Central America.

Milk snakes have a wide variety of colors and patterns, ranging from red to yellow to black. They typically have a banded pattern on their bodies with alternating bands of black and white or yellow and red. King snakes also have a wide variety of colors and patterns, but they tend to be more uniform than milk snakes. They usually have a solid color with stripes or bands of black or brown running along their bodies.

How Do You Tell Them Apart?

The easiest way to tell milk snakes and king snakes apart is by looking at their heads. Milk snakes have round heads with no distinct markings, while king snakes have triangular heads with distinct markings on them. Additionally, milk snakes tend to be smaller than king snakes, reaching lengths of up to three feet while king snakes can reach lengths of up to six feet.

Another way to tell them apart is by looking at their behavior. Milk snakes are generally more docile than king snakes and will often curl up into a ball when threatened or scared. King snakes, on the other hand, will usually try to escape when threatened or scared instead of curling up into a ball like milk snakes do.

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What Do They Eat?

Both milk snake and king snake diets consist mainly of small rodents such as mice and rats as well as lizards, frogs, birds eggs, insects, and other small animals they can find in their environment. However, there is one major difference between the two species: milk snake diets also include other small reptiles such as lizards and frogs while king snake diets do not include these types of prey items.

Where Do They Live?

Milk snake habitats vary depending on the species but generally consist of wooded areas such as forests or fields near water sources like streams or ponds where they can find food sources like rodents or insects. King snake habitats also vary depending on the species but generally consist of dry areas such as deserts or grasslands where they can find food sources like rodents or lizards.


Milk Snakes and King Snakes may look similar but there are some key differences between them that you should know about before trying to identify them in the wild. By understanding these differences you can easily tell them apart based on their size, head shape, behavior patterns, diet preferences, and habitats!