The corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus)

The corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus) is a North American species of rat snake that subdues its small prey by constriction. It is found throughout the southeastern and central United States. Their docile nature, reluctance to bite, moderate adult size, attractive pattern, and comparatively simple care make them popular pet snakes. Though superficially resembling the venomous copperhead and often killed as a result of this mistaken identity, corn snakes are harmless and beneficial to humans.Corn snakes lack functional venom and help control populations of wild rodent pests that damage crops and spread disease.The corn snake is named for the species’ regular presence near grain stores, where it preys on mice and rats that eat harvested corn.The Oxford English Dictionary cites this usage as far back as 1675. Some sources maintain that the corn snake is so-named because the distinctive, nearly-checkered pattern of the snake’s belly scales resembles the kernels of variegated corn.Regardless of the name’s origin, the corn reference can be a useful mnemonic for identifying corn snakes.

 

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