Corn Snake

Corn Snake

Pantherophis guttatus

Conservation status:  IUCN – LC (Least concern)

Geographic range: Naturally lives in: Mexico, USA. Introduced to: the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Saint Barthelemy, Sint Maarten, Virgin Islands. 

Physical description: This small snake grows up to a length of 50-120 cm and weighs between 600 and 900 g. It has a slim body which widens at the bottom. The wider bottom helps them to climb trees which are more difficult for more cylindrical snake species. The colour of this species can vary from brown to light orange or even red with black spots. Scales at the bottom are usually white or cream with black spots. The colour variation depends on the snake’s habitat and it can change shades depending on the time of day. Their skin also gets darker before it is shed and the markings become blank. After shedding their skin looks much brighter. These snakes can also have colour mutations like albinism, melanism, and leucism. 

Biology: A scared wild snake could hiss, move its tail-end, make its body look taller and imitate biting, but it usually won’t actually bite. These snakes bite only when there is no other choice to protect itself, but this can depend on the character of the animal. Another form of protection which the corn snake may use is an unpleasant, musk-like smell, which it spreads from its cloaca. Like most snakes, they keep away from other individuals. They can be detected in groups only during mating season and before winter. As it is not a poisonous snake, it kills prey by choking it. Juvenile snakes start feeding only after the first time they have shed their skin and they will begin by searching for similar-sized prey. Adult snakes could easily live half a year without feeding. 

Lifespan: 15 – 20 years.

Food habits: Small vertebrates. 

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