Corn Snake

Checkers is our resident corn snake. He was originally wild caught in Florida over 20 years ago. He has been doing education much of his life and is amazing with kids of all ages.
Common Name: Corn Snake
Scientific Name: Pantherophis guttatus
Type: Colubrid
Diet: Carnivore
Average Life Span: 6-8 years in the wild, 20+ in captivity
Size: 24 to 72 inches long
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern
Current Population Trend: Stable

About the Corn Snake

Corn snakes, sometimes called red rat snakes, are slender, orange or brownish-yellow snakes with a pattern of large, red blotches outlined in black down their backs. Along their bellies are distinctive rows of alternating black and white marks, which resemble a checkerboard pattern. The name corn snake may have originated from the similarity of these markings to the checkered pattern of kernels of maize or Indian corn. These snakes exhibit considerable variations in color and pattern, depending on their age and geographic range. Young hatchlings also lack the brighter coloration seen in adults.

Native Habitat

Corn snakes are found in the eastern United States from southern New Jersey to Florida, into Louisiana and parts of Kentucky. They are most abundant in Florida and other southeastern states. Introduced populations have been recorded on several islands in the Caribbean, with established populations in the Bahamas (New Providence and Grand Bahama), Grand Cayman, the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas) and the Lesser Antilles. These snakes inhabit wooded groves, rocky hillsides, meadowlands, woodlots, rocky open areas, tropical hammocks, barns and abandoned buildings.

Food/Eating Habits

These constrictors bite their prey to get a firm grip, then quickly coil themselves around their meal, squeezing tightly until the prey is subdued. Finally, they swallow their food whole, usually headfirst. Corn snakes have also been observed swallowing small prey alive. These snakes typically feed every few days.

Young hatchlings eat lizards and tree frogs, while adults feed on larger prey, such as mice, rats, birds and bats. In captivity, corn snakes eat mice and rats.

Reproduction and Development

Corn snakes are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs that later hatch. The female snake lays a clutch of 10 to 30 eggs. The eggs hatch between July and September, and hatchlings are 25 to 38 centimeters (10 to 15 inches) long. They reach maturity in about 18 to 36 months.

Sleep Habits
Corn snakes are primarily diurnal, or most active during the day. Corn snakes readily climb trees and enter abandoned buildings in search of prey. However, they are very secretive and spend most of their time underground prowling through rodent burrows. They often hide under loose bark or beneath logs, rocks and other debris during the day.

Corn snakes live up to 23 years in human care, but their lifespan is shorter in the wild.