Corn snakes are so named because of the similarity of their skin color and pattern to maize, or Indian corn. They are sometimes called a "red rat" snake and are often mistaken for venomous copperheads.
Cornsnakes are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day.
These small constrictors 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.
"Mozzarella" is an albino corn snake, sometimes referred to as a "snow corn snake". He lacks pigmentation. His color is the result of having inherited a recessive gene. He was bred and sold in the exotic pet trade, then adopted from an owner who no longer could keep him.
Thousands of pet snakes become displaced each year and need refuge, for a variety of reasons. Many young owners relocate to apartments that don't allow pets. Some snakes are more aggressive than their owners had hoped. Some simply have lived longer than their owner's interest lasted. Corn snakes can live up to 23 years in captivity, so keeping one as a pet is a long-term commitment.
Photo courtesy of Clay Myers.
InfoBox - Corn Snake
Status: "Special concern" species in Florida; otherwise good.
Diet in wild: Lizards, mice, rats, bats, and birds.
Life span in captivity: 10 to 15 years; up to 23 years in captivity.
Size: Two to six feet long.
Native habitat: Eastern United States.