Any of various subspecies of the king snake Lampropeltis triangulum, ranging from the eastern and central United States south to Ecuador and often having red, black, and yellow or white bands. Also called house snake, milk adder.
[From the folk belief that the snakes (which are commonly seen around the barns where they hunt rodents) suck milk from cows.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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