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Old 12-20-17, 09:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Anyone keep black milk snakes?

I've always been a sucker for pure black snakes but never bought one. It's just such a cool look. In my research MBKs were 50/50 going to be visible or hide a lot. I knew of black milks before but didn't know much about them and what few pictures I saw was just a really dark milk snake. I didn't know they turned jet black with age. I know a of a reputable breeder of them that I trust. I've read conflicting information on temperature. My basement stays 71-74f throughout the year on average.
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Old 12-21-17, 02:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone keep black milk snakes?

Black milk snakes are awesome!

Coming from the high altitude cloud forests of Costa Rica and Panama where it is always cool and misty, they really do prefer cool temps. I keep mine at 74F - 75F ambient with a warm spot of 80F. Much warmer than 80F is dangerous.

One of mine is still a juvenile and is starting to turn from banded to black. The older snakes have turned solid glossy black with flashes of iridescence in sunlight. They are getting quite big and have voracious appetites. They hit their rats like a ton of bricks. Fortunately they have never missed and nailed me. When it's not feeding time they are mellow. They are some of the coolest snakes in my collection.

You will really enjoy having one.
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Old 12-21-17, 09:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone keep black milk snakes?

I've had them in the past. By far the calmest milk, and large (up to 2000 grams and 7 feet). When I had them I only had a hot spot of 78 and they flourished. They drink a lot of water compared to other milks but nothing too crazy. I would take them over mbk any day of the week for a variety of reasons.
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Old 12-21-17, 11:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone keep black milk snakes?

They are really awesome snakes! I was able to hold one at NERD once, and I will never forget it. They also grow quite large, which to me is nothing but a plus.
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Old 12-21-17, 12:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone keep black milk snakes?

Andy, I'm thinking about lowering the hot spot a couple of degrees as well. I rarely see them hanging out on the warm end.

It's worth noting that when my juvenile male got out (like all milk snakes they are consummate escape artists) he was on the lam in the basement for 4 months. He left the snake room and we later found him in the stairwell. It is a constant 58F in the unheated area where he was but he was alert, active and healthy. I was amazed.

I also considered MBKs because black milks are so hard to find but decided it was worth the wait to hold out for black milks. MBKs have a reputation for being flighty, bitey and quick to musk. Sometimes they grow out of it and sometimes they don't. Of course each animal is an individual so your mileage may vary. The black milks are very calm. They started out a little nervous but none were bitey or inclined to musk even as babies. Like Andy's snakes they are getting big, beefy and powerful. Two of mine had parents that were both 7 1/2 feet.
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Old 12-21-17, 12:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone keep black milk snakes?

I have a 2x2x1 pvc that would be a young snakes home until I moved to something else. PVC should be escape proof assuming I don't make mistakes in locking the doors.

So far I'm liking what I'm learning about them. A big black active snake would be a nice addition.
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Old 12-21-17, 02:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone keep black milk snakes?

They're such cool snakes. Never owned one, but have handled a few and they were all mellow and fairly large with respect to other milks. If you don't mind, could you PM me some info on the breeder? I'm looking to get one a couple years down the line.
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Old 12-21-17, 11:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone keep black milk snakes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandit View Post
They're such cool snakes. Never owned one, but have handled a few and they were all mellow and fairly large with respect to other milks. If you don't mind, could you PM me some info on the breeder? I'm looking to get one a couple years down the line.
If I end up buying one it would be from Chuck Royal. My retic is from him, great guy and a well respected breeder. I'd buy any snake he produces if I was in the market. I've had a great experience with him, I can message him with questions and he responds promptly.
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Old 12-22-17, 04:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone keep black milk snakes?

Bandit, I'm not sure how economical it is to ship from Canada to the US, though I know shipping the *other* way is involved and expensive. Might be something you want to investigate first before you commit.

In the US, Zerkle Reptiles sometimes has them and so does ReptMart. You can also post a "Wanted" ad on FaunaClassifieds and Kingsnake. You'll have to obsessively monitor those sites once you are in the market. I have seen black milk snakes sell in about an hour.

As a future producer of these guys in the next couple of years that bodes well for being able to find homes for the babies. But... when I was trying to get my hands on them it absolutely sucked. Originally I was just going to get one as a pet. It took 2 years to find a snake. That's actually why I got into breeding oddball species and / or morphs. Black milks and Russian rats in particular are like unicorns and more people need to breed them so that more of their fans can enjoy them.
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Old 12-22-17, 06:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone keep black milk snakes?

Isis Reptiles has them too. That’s where I got mine.
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Old 12-23-17, 02:41 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone keep black milk snakes?

Wherever you get your animal from, I wish you the best of luck!
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Old 12-28-17, 09:36 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Anyone keep black milk snakes?

Thanks guys, I will screenshot all of this so I can look back at it once I decide to pull the trigger. As of right now, it's looking like I'll be buying a house sometime next year. If that all goes as planned, I'll likely be looking to add a black milk once I get settled.
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