Corn Snake

Biological Facts

Order: Squamata
Family: Colubridae
Genus/species: Elaphe guttata

Corn snakes are slender with a length of 24 to 72 inches (61 to 182 cm). They are usually orange or brownish-yellow, with large, black-edged red blotches down the middle of the back. On the belly are alternating rows of black and white marks, resembling a checkerboard pattern. Considerable variation occurs in the coloration and patterns of individual snakes, depending on the age of the snake and the region of the country in which it is found. Hatchlings lack much of the bright coloration found on adults.

Corn snakes are primarily diurnal. They 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 also often hide under loose bark and beneath logs, rocks, and other debris during the day.

Diet

They are fed mice, rats, and chicks.

Reproduction

The breeding season of corn snakes is from March to May. The snakes are oviparous, depositing a clutch of ten to 30 eggs in late May to July. Eggs are laid in rotting stumps, piles of decaying vegetation, or other similar locations where there is sufficient heat and humidity to incubate them. The adult snakes do not care for the eggs. Once laid, the gestation period of the eggs is 60 to 65 days at about 82° F. The eggs hatch sometime in July through September. Hatchlings are 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 cm) long and mature in 18 to 36 months.

Corn Snakes as pets

Corn snakes are not an endangered species. However, they are listed by the state of Florida as a Species of Special Concern because they face habitat loss and destruction in the lower Florida Keys. Corn snakes are often mistaken for copperheads and killed. They are also popular as pets. They are the most frequently bred snake species for pet purposes. However they are sometimes captured in the wild to be sold as pets. This does not seem to pose a serious threat to this species at this time.  Corn snakes help to control rodent populations that may otherwise spread disease.

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