Corn snake

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Corn snake
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Subclass: Lepidosauria
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Pantherophis
Binomial name
Pantherophis guttatus
(Linnaeus, 1766)
Pantherophis guttatus map.svg

The corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus) is a North American species of rat snake that kills small prey by constriction.

Corn snakes are found throughout the southeastern and central United States. They are often kept as pets. They reach a moderate size of 3.9–6.0 feet (1.2–1.8 m). In the wild, they usually live around 6–8 years, but in captivity can live to be up to 23 years old[1] or longer.[2]

Corn snakes look similar to the venomous copperhead snake and are often killed because of this similarity. Corn snakes are harmless and beneficial to humans.[3] Corn snakes lack venom and help control populations of wild rodent pests that damage crops and spread disease.[4] They can be distinguished from copperheads by their brighter colors, slender build and lack of heat-sensing pits.[5]

The corn snake is named for the species' regular presence near grain stores, where it preys on mice and rats that eat harvested corn.[6] 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.[7][8] Regardless of the name's origin, the corn reference can be a useful mnemonic for identifying them.

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