How Many Times a Year Do Milk Snakes Lay Eggs?

How many times in a year do milksnakes lay eggs 1 How Many Times a Year Do Milk Snakes Lay Eggs?
Baby Milk Snake

Milk snakes lay eggs like the many different kinds of snakes in the wild. Being a type of king snake, they can be larger. I became curious as to how many times they lay their eggs, so I did some research. 

How many times a year do milk snakes lay eggs? Milk snakes lay eggs from May to July. (Early Spring to mid-summer) It takes about 50-70 days for them to hatch because milk snakes don’t hatch live young. They only lay their eggs once a year because they have to wait till the brumation period has ended for the male snakes.

There is a specific set of events and circumstances which have to take place for Milk snakes to be successful in their reproduction of their young. You’d be surprised all that goes into helping these little ones hatch.

What Conditions Have to Be Present For The Eggs to Hatch?

Milk snake eggs have to maintain specific conditions to be able to hatch. Not all the eggs are always fertile and going to survive. It is vital that they maintain the right temperature, environment, and that they are handled with care.

The eggs are fragile and need lots of attention. If you are going to hatch your own Milk snakes, here are the answers to some questions you might have.

Not all the eggs will always survive. Their survival rate really depends on how they are cared for and kept. Sometimes, there are some which won’t hatch at all because they just aren’t strong enough to survive.

All the eggs need to incubate at a constant temperature of about 24 degrees Celsius.

These eggs need a lot of care so their momma won’t be laying anymore for a while once they’ve been laid. There was no research I could find that showed how many times they lay, but the incubation, ovulation, and brumation periods give the indication that it is only once a year.

Also, because it is so exhausting for milk snakes to lay eggs, it would be reasonable to suspect they can only handle it once.

Where Do Milk Snakes Lay Eggs?

When laid in the wild, the eggs could be laid in places such as rotting logs, stumps, mammal burrows, piles of manure, leaf mounds, sawdust piles, compost, sand, under boards, or in loose soil.

Also, some females will lay in the same area if there isn’t a lot of space to go around for them to space themselves out.  There are so many different types of places they can nest themselves. These areas are ideal for the Milk snakes because they are moist and warm. Perfect incubation for the little guys.

If you are going to breed Milk snakes in your home, take into account all of the necessary elements they would need in their natural habitat and duplicate that in your home. Things like heat lamps, incubation units, warm atmosphere, etc. If you have the financial means, a snake room and a cage would be the fanciest, but you don’t have to.

If you are poor like me, you could use a Tupperware container if you want, with holes poked around all sides of it. Make sure you’re not just putting them in the container without something on the bottom.

Buy them something that is called “snake bedding.” You can find snake bedding at your local pet store. There are some awesome YouTube videos that show you just how to make it perfect too.

Do Milksnakes Lay in The Winter? If Not, Why?

Do you remember that movie Bambi, when all the little animals were twitterpated at the beginning of spring? That’s just about the right description for our Milk snake friends.

Milk snakes don’t lay eggs in the winter because male Milk snakes are in the middle of what is called brumation. It’s sort of like snake hibernation. They go into a dormant state for about 3 to 4 months.

They can mate while they are still in their winter dens, but most don’t. The same time frame of mating, incubation, and hatching still applies though. 

The female Milk snakes begin ovulating around the spring time and she has to shed some skin a couple times before she is ready to mate. It takes a while for everyone to be ready which is why they do not lay eggs in the winter. Who would have known they were so particular and organized?

How Many Times Does The Mother Have To Shed Before Mating and Laying Eggs?

If you didn’t know already, female Milk snakes have to shed a few times before she mates and before she lays her eggs. A female Milk snake has a “pre-lay” shed right before she lays her eggs. That information comes in handy if you are breeding milksnakes and want to plan ahead.

When a snake sheds its skin, its eyes cloud over and it begins to be a bit more agitated because it can’t see as well as it was able to before. So, imagine a mother snake- pregnant, blind, and irritated. I have sisters, and that combination of circumstances sounds pretty familiar.

She will probably start looking cloudy all over. She will rub herself against something to create a tear and voila! She begins to shed. Once she has shed she will be ready to lay her eggs. 

It takes quite a while for snakes to shed so you won’t see any eggs for a little while. However, her shedding is a good indication that she is getting ready to lay her eggs. 

What Do Milk Snake Eggs Look Like?

Milk snake eggs look like enlarged grains of rice. (This is not a scientific explanation, just my own observation.) They are quite large, about 6 1/2 inches long. They are mostly white. They look sort of oblong.

The only time an egg will not be white is if, on being laid, it begins to get moldy, stink, or it becomes green. If it looks like this, it is sterile and will not produce any young.

Do not worry about whether or not an egg is sterile though, because they won’t all die. It’s typical for some of them to not make it through the incubation process.

If you’re eggs are all dying, then you probably have a problem and you should check the temperature and environment the eggs are in. 

If you are going to hatch Milk snakes you need to know it isn’t necessary to take it out of the nest when you discover it. You can take it out of the nest, but be careful not to crack any of the other eggs around it. If it is on the outside and won’t harm any of the other eggs, feel free to pull the abandoned shell out and throw it away.

Related Questions

How many different kinds of Milksnakes are there?  Milksnakes are a subspecies of the king snake. There are about 24 different species of Milksnakes.

How long does it take for a snake to shed it’s skin? Shedding takes about one to two weeks for most snakes, and they shed about 2-3 times a year depending on the snake.

Do Milksnake babies bite? It is unlikely for them to bite you. They can bite you, and they might if they are scared, but most likely they will not.