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Corn snake

Scientific Name: Pantherophis guttatus

The corn snake is a very popular pet in captivity coming in a wide variety of colours and patterns called ‘morphs’. These range from grey to pink, blue-purple, and yellow. They are covered in smooth scales and in the wild they have orange scales with red saddle patterning on their backs.

Although corn snakes have good eyesight, they rely mostly on smell. They use their tongue to pick up scents around them, which are interpreted by the Jacobson’s organ on the roof of their mouth. These snakes are mainly terrestrial which means they spend most of their time on the ground. Corn snakes are nocturnal, but are often active in the early evening.

Corn snakes lay eggs, the female will lay them in a rotting stump or piles of decaying leaves, which helps to incubate the eggs. The young snakes are just 25-38cm long when they hatch.

They will eat any animal they can swallow, so the type of prey depends on their own size. They catch their prey by striking and very rapidly wrapping their body around to constrict it. The prey, being unable to expand their lungs to breathe, suffocates before being eaten whole.

The corn snake is listed as Not Evaluated by the IUCN. Minor threats are the pet trade and habitat loss. They are also occasionally mistaken for poisonous copperhead snakes and killed by humans.

Key Facts:

  • Conservation Status: Not Evaluated
  • Distribution: Southern North America
  • Habitat: Coniferous & Broadleaf Forests, Grassland, Urban Areas
  • Diet: Animals
  • Weight: Variable
  • No. of young: 10 – 30
  • Life Span: 23 years

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