The milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) is a subspecies of kingsnake that lives across the US and Mexico. Like other kingsnakes, they’re medium sized constrictors that are fairly popular as pets. In fact, you may just consider owning one yourself. You may also be asking certain questions such as “how much does a milk snake cost” before making up your mind and bringing one home.
At this point, it’s important to remember that the price of owning a milk snake doesn’t stop at the animal itself. Setting up its vivarium and accessories at a minimum will need to be considered when you bring it home. You should also factor in reoccurring costs like medical care. No pet is a one time purchase, after all. With this guide, we hope to give you a clearer picture on what you need to think about when budgeting for your new pet.
Milk Snake Prices
Before getting into the different expenses involved in keeping a milk snake, it is important to consider the overall cost of the animal. The morph, or how much the the animal differs from its “original” counterpart will affect this. As with any snake, you can expect various specialty bred morphs to cost more. After all, some of these lines take generations to refine and express certain genes. Some popular varieties of milk snake morph include:
Nelson’s Milk Snake – $129
Albino Nelson’s Milk Snake – $129
Pueblan Milk Snake – $129
Hypo Honduran Milk Snake – $299
The Costs of Housing
Of course, aside from purchasing your animal, setting up it’s enclosure will have the greatest impact on how much your baby milk snake cost initially. Fortunately, 10 gallon starter kits that have everything you need are widely available. You can expect these to cost around $60. However, as your pet reaches its full size, you may need to transfer it to a larger container of around 20-50 gallons. This can cost anywhere from around $100 – $300.
If you have not acquired your various accessories in a kit, you may want to consider the following in the price of bringing home your milk snake:
Reptile heat lamps and pads
Branches and vines
Remember: all of these items are essential to the well being of your snake. They shouldn’t be ignored when trying to calculate how much your milk snake will cost. From making sure that your pet has the proper amount of hides to decompress in to water dishes that help it hydrate, these accessories are important to invest in. While most should be one-time purchases, you may need to replace certain items over your snake’s lifetime.
Heating and Lighting Costs
Heat lamps designed for reptiles are built to emit the UVA and UVB rays. Your animal is going to need this to regulate their body temperature and absorb certain vital nutrients. They are essential to keeping your pet healthy. In other words, they are not an optional part of your snake husbandry. However, you should still incorporate the costs of purchasing and running these devices. In short, you can expect the bulb itself to cost around ten dollars. Five in the electricity it takes to run it. You can learn more about how to properly run a heating bulb and how much you can expect it to cost with “How Much Does a Reptile Heat Lamp Cost to Run“.
The Costs of Feeding a Milk Snake
While food costs will be a regular expense for your animal, it is significantly less than feeding most other pets. As with most snakes, milk snakes do not need to eat frequently. While they will need to eat once a week as hatchlings, your adult milk snake will be content with an appropriately sized food item three times a month.
One way you can determine what size food item to feed your snake is by making sure that it is around the same size as the thickest part of your reptile. It is important to avoid feeding your snake too often or items that are too large for it, as this can cause injury or gastrointestinal distress.
As babies, your snake will need smaller “pinkies” or “fuzzies”, which typically cost around $1.50. Frozen adult mice will run about $3 a piece. In addition to the typically lower overall costs of these food items, they are fairly accessible, often readily available at most pet stores. You can even purchase your food items in bulk to ensure you have a reliable supply.
Keeping Your Milk Snake Healthy
As with any pet, factoring vet visits in your budget is going to be important. Proper, regular vet care can be instrumental in making sure your pet lives a full, healthy life. It is also important to remember that exotic vets tend to be a little bit more expensive than others. However, building a relationship with one as a client will provide you with unbeatable support.
Overall, you can expect your regular vet visits to run around $100. However, specialty examinations and testing may add to that. It is also important to remember that older animals may need more advanced medical care. If there is any concern that your snake may need specialty vet care, you may wish to seek out pet insurance. This can be an excellent way to help mitigate medical bills.
Final Thoughts on How Much Milk Snakes Cost
It is important to consider the financial responsibility you’re about to take on when looking at milk snakes for sale. From accessories to feeding and healthcare, this pet is going to be a monetary commitment for its lifetime. With that being said, milk snakes generally cost a bit less than most traditional pets. Most of the expense is in startup costs. They certainly don’t need as much food as other pets. Of course, there is little to no concern of this animal injuring itself or damaging your property. These are generally healthy animals when cared for properly, and you can expect it to live for 20+ years.