STATUS IN THE WILD: Least Concern
RANGE: North America
PHYSICAL FEATURES AND CHARACTERISTICS
Wild corn snakes have a base body color of a brown to red-orange, speckled with large red blotches and black edges down the back. The color can vary from region to region and can also include some gray and yellow. The belly is black and white checkered. Corn snakes can range from two to six feet in length and live up to eight years. They have a slender head and body and have round pupils.
LIFESTYLE AND REPRODUCTION
They are primarily active at night and are both terrestrial burrowers and extremely good climbers. In colder regions, they brumate (similar to hibernation) during winter. In the temperate climates along the coast, they take shelter in logs and rock crevices during colder weather and come out on warmer days to bask in the sun.
The corn snake breeding season occurs from March to May. The male snakes may engage in ritualistic combat, in a form of body-shoving contests, when two or more meet in the presence of a receptive female. The winning male courts the female primarily with tactile and chemical cues. Egg-laying occurs slightly more than a month after mating. The female will pick an area that is warm and humid enough to incubate 12 to 24 eggs. Since these snakes lay eggs, they are called oviparous snakes. Once laid, the adult snake abandons the eggs and does not return to them. The eggs are oblong with a leathery, flexible shell. Approximately 10 weeks after laying, the young snakes use a specialized scale called an egg tooth to slice slits in the egg, from which they emerge at about eight to 12 inches in length. The young are patterned like the adults but have darker blotches on a lighter colored body.
Corn snakes can range from southern New Jersey south through Florida and west into Louisiana and parts of Kentucky, even into parts of Texas.
The corn snake is found in habitats like wooded groves, rocky hillsides, overgrown fields, meadowlands, forest openings, trees, palmetto flat woods, barns, and abandoned or seldom-used buildings. They prefer lower altitudes but can be found anywhere from sea level up to 6,000 feet.
Like all snakes, corn snakes are carnivorous, and in the wild, they eat every few days. Adult corn snakes feed on larger prey items like mice, rats, birds, bats and bird’s eggs while the young hatchlings feed mainly on lizards and frogs.