Milk snakes are a red, black, and beige striped snake; they are often mistaken for Coral Snakes which are highly venomous. The rhyme below is a good reminder of what to steer clear of and how to easily tell the difference between the two (milk snake, left; coral snake, right). If the red is touching the yellow stripe it is a coral snake, if the red is touching a black stripe then it is a milk snake. Milk snakes are a species in the genus Lampropeltis which includes a wide variety of species and sub-species. The scarlet king snake and the red milk snake are very similar species within the same genus, some of them are almost impossible to differentiate.