red cornsnake (Elaphe guttata)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHARACTERISTICS: Also known as the "red rat snake", this is a

stout, medium-sized snake that grows to lengths of 30-48 in. (76-122

cm). It is red to orange in color, although there is individual variation.

Upland specimens tend to be browner. Dorsal spots and blotches are

outlined with black and the first blotch on the neck is divided into 2

branches that extend forward and meet in a spearpoint between the

eyes. The belly is whitish, strongly checkered or cross-banded with

black. The underside of the tail is striped and the scales are weakly

keeled. Juveniles are patterned as adults but often have chocolate

brown to dark chocolate blotches on a gray to reddish orange body.

This species may be confused with Lampropeltis calligaster and Lam-

propeltis triangulum, especially the mountain form of the latter. Both

of these species have a short eye-jaw stripe that does not extend beyond

the mouth and neither have the blotch on the head. Cornsnakes are often

mistaken for copperheads (Agkistrodon contortrix), but the latter has

hourglass-shaped crossbands and lacks the strong checkerboard pattern

on the venter. There are 3-27 eggs/clutch laid in July and August.

 

DISTRIBUTION: This species is found below 760 meters elevation in
the upper Coastal Plain, most of the Piedmont, and in the Blue Ridge
Mountains and Valley and Ridge north of the New River. It has not been

found in the southeastern Coastal Plain, on the Eastern Shore, or south-

west of the New River. This species spends most of its time underground

or hidden. It frequents corn cribs and is found in open woodland and cul-

tivated fields. This is a very secretive snake, infrequently seen even in

areas from which it is known. Cornsnakes are terrestrial and fossorial,

utilizing rodent burrows and tree root canals for shelter and foraging areas.

It is often found on rocky hillsides and in barns. It is most often associated

with hardwood forests, although they may be occasionally found in pine-dominated agricultural and urban areas.

 

FOODS: Rodents are the preferred prey of this snake, although fledgling
birds and lizards are occasionally taken.

 

 

Back to Inventory of Reptile Families and Species

Home Page

Park Activities

   Calendar of Events
  
Volunteer Programs

   Park Regulations

Sky Meadows Park
  
Location
   Geography
   Habitats
   Trails
   Visiting Park

   Virtual Tours

Crooked Run Valley

   Historic District

   Architecture Sites

   Mt. Bleak

   Historical Events

   Park History

   Agriculture

Special Projects

   Blue Bird

   Biodiversity Survey

   BioBlitz 

 

Home Page

Nature Guide

   Purpose

   Databases

   Copyright

Plants

   Trees

   Shrubs

   Vines

   Forbs/Herbs

   Ferns

   Grasses

Animals

   Mammals

   Birds

   Reptiles

   Amphibians

   Fish

   Butterflies

   Bees

Fungi

   Mushrooms

   Lichens