Corn snakes, also referred to as the red rat snakes, are native to the U.S. Despite being colorful, they are not venomous. They are one of the most popular captive-bred snakes and a perfect choice for beginner snake owners.
They are commonly found in the American Southeast, from New Jersey to Florida.
Their body length ranges from 60 to 182 centimeters.
They are often mistaken for venomous copperheads.
Corn snakes are brighter and more slender. Adult corn snakes typically have large red-blotchy patterns outlined in black on gray, orange, or yellow skin, while young snakes lack brightness. They are also distinguished by the black-and-white pattern on their underbellies, resembling a checkerboard.
The main difference, making them easily distinguishable, is that copperheads’ pattern is hourglass-shaped.
Their color depends on their habitat.
It all comes down to the ability to camouflage themselves.
Their name is probably associated with their bright colors, resembling Indian corn.
Corn snakes are highly praised occupants of corn fields since they viciously hunt for rodents.
Their average lifespan in the wild is 13 years, and typically up to 25 years in captivity.
The record holder lived for 32 years.
They are carnivorous.
They primarily feed on small rodents, but also eat unguarded eggs, amphibians, and other reptiles. They bite their prey, and coil around it to subdue it, then swallow it whole, starting with the head.
Corn snakes can withstand without food for up to a week.
They hunt once every few days in the wild and do not have to be fed every day in captivity.
To hunt prey, they rely on their highly developed sense of smell.
Their eyesight, on the other hand, is very poor.
They lack eyelids.
They do have, however, a skin layer over their eyes to moisturize them. Once the layer is dry, a corn snake will shed it, just as it sheds its skin.
Their natural predators are birds of prey, foxes, bobcats, opossums, weasels, and skunks.
Young corn snakes are the most favored food of kingsnakes and coral snakes.
To scare off predators, they act as rattlesnakes.
They hit their tail on the ground, creating a rattling sound.
The mating season of corn snakes lasts from March to May.
Females lay from 10 to 30 eggs in a single clutch.
The eggs are not tended to by the female. The young hatch after approximately 10 weeks of incubation.
Young hatchlings are 25 to 38 centimeters long and reach maturity within the first three years of life.
Corn snakes are solitary and both diurnal and nocturnal.
However, they spend most of the day buried underneath rocks, logs, or loose tree bark.
They are one of the most popular captive-bred reptiles.
Corn snakes are very docile and easy to care for. They do not show aggression towards humans and thus can be kept outside the terrarium.
The breeding activity of captive corn snakes led to over 800 morphs.
The rarest is the scaleless corn snake, which costs approximately US$500.
They are considered an invasive species in Australia.
Corn snakes found their way outside the U.S. thanks to the illegal pet trade.
The IUCN lists them as the Least Concern.
However, in Florida, they are listed as a special concern species. Their numbers decline due to habitat loss and extensive capturing. One of the main reasons for their population decline is their resemblance to copperhead snakes, which often makes people kill them out of fear since copperheads are venomous.