Bloomington, Ill. (WCIA)

Meet “Queso,” the charismatic Pueblan Milksnake, who’s visiting Miller Park Zoo just in time for Halloween. Queso’s striking red color, adorned with distinct rings of black and whitish-yellow, might make you think he’s dressed up for the season, but there’s more to his appearance.

Pueblan Milksnakes like Queso exhibit a clever survival strategy called Batesian mimicry. They resemble coral snakes, which are venomous and feature a red-yellow-black pattern. In contrast, Pueblan Milksnakes are nonvenomous, with a red-black pattern. This mimicry helps protect them from potential predators, as humans can discern the difference, but many animal predators cannot.

These fascinating creatures hail from the arid deserts of Mexico and have a diverse diet that includes small rodents, birds, lizards, frogs, and even other snakes, earning them the nickname “kingsnake.” Queso was born in 2014, which means he’s almost 10 years old, and his species can live for more than two decades under human care.

If you’re interested in exploring more of the animal kingdom, Miller Park Zoo offers exciting events:

  • ZOO EXPLORERS Animal Observations on October 9th, where kids aged 6-11 can enjoy animal encounters, classroom learning, and hands-on experiences.
  • Spooktacular on October 21st, a Halloween party featuring local vendors, crafts, games, glitter tattoos, and even hayrides (weather permitting).
  • Spooktacular (non-scary) on October 22nd, offering a family-friendly version of the Halloween party with vendors, crafts, games, and glitter tattoos.
  • ANIMAL CRACKERS on October 27th and 28th, a delightful program for 3-5-year-olds and their adults, featuring stories, animal encounters, crafts, and snacks.

Visit Miller Park Zoo for a wild adventure and explore the wonders of the animal kingdom.