Corn Snake

Corn Snake

Pantherophis guttatus

Common name:

Corn Snake

Scientific name:

Pantherophis guttatus

Alternative common names:


Description:

Thecorn snake is a North Americanspeciesofrat snakethat subdues its small prey by constriction. It’s primarily active at night. It is both a terrestrial burrower and extremely good climber. It feeds on lizards, frogs, rodents, and birds and their eggs.

Additional Information


Where does this species come from?

Eastern United States from southern New Jersey south through Florida, west into Louisiana and parts of Kentucky.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA 2020 Category 3

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

KwaZulu-Natal.

How does it spread?

It has been accidentally introduced to many areas via cargo and plant shipments, as well as by escaping from the enclosures of pet owners.

Why is it a problem?

Injures humans (bites or stings) and kills native animals including mammals, birds, frogs and lizards.

What does it look like?

Description: Corn snakes are slender with a length of 61-182 cm. They are usually orange or brownish-yellow, with large, black-edged red blotches down the middle of the back. On the belly there 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 not venomous. Average adult size is 45.7-111.7 cm, record is 72 182.8 cm. Adults are orange-brown with black bordered orange, red, or brownish blotches. The belly is usually a black and white checkerboard pattern, though orange may also be present. The underside of the tail has 2 black stripes. There is a spear-shaped pattern on the head and neck. The scales are weakly overturned, and the appearance to adults, but may be more brownish in coloration.

Habitat: They may be found in wooded groves, rocky hillsides, meadowlands, woodlots, barns, and abandoned buildings.

Breeding: The breeding season of corn snakes is from March to May. The snakes are oviparous, depositing a clutch of 10 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 eggs are not cared for by the adult snakes. Once laid, the gestation period of the eggs is 60-65 days at approximately 28 degrees Celsius (˚C). The eggs then hatch sometime in July through September. Hatchlings are 25-38 cm long and mature in 18-36 months.

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