Illinois 7th Grader Gets Eastern Milksnake Designated Official Snake Of StateEastern milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum). Photo by Nathan A Shepard/Shutterstock

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Illinois 7th Grader Gets Eastern Milksnake Designated Official Snake Of State

Gov. JB Pritzker signed House Bill 4821 into law June 16.

The eastern milksnake is found in much of Illinois and makes its home in fields, woodlands, rocky hills and river bottoms.

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Gentry Heiple, a 7th grade student at Carterville Junior High School wanted to get the eastern milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum) designated as the official snake of Illinois, and after working with State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton), Heiple’s dream became reality.

Gov. JB Pritzker signed House Bill 4821 into law June 16.


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“I couldn’t be prouder of our young Illinoisans, like Gentry Heiple, who have gotten involved in our state’s legislative process,” Governor JB Pritzker said in a statement released to the media. “I am honored to sign this bill into law declaring the eastern milksnake the official snake of Illinois. Gentry, may you continue to use your voice to advocate for change—making our state better one bill at a time.”

“I decided to do this bill to try and highlight the good and importance of snakes all over,” said Gentry Heiple. “And by doing this I was able to visit the capitol and meet some of the most important people in Illinois. And I am very grateful and appreciative of all the people who supported me and voted yes on the bill. I was surprised to see the amount of people with such fear be so intrigued and supportive of this snake bill.”


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The eastern milksnake is found in much of Illinois and makes its home in fields, woodlands, rocky hills and river bottoms. A colubrid, the eastern milksnake is a subspecies of the milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum). It is widely captive-bred and very popular with reptile keepers. Milksnakes are also known as a mimic to venomous coral snake species.