Eastern Ratsnake Conservation - Least Concern
Scientific Name
Pantherophis guttatus
Central and Northern Virginia
Also Known As
Red Corn Snake, Chicken Snake
Orange Body With Checkerboard Belly
Rodents, Reptiles, Amphibians, Eggs
Litter Size
7 - 20 Eggs per Birth
Life Span
6 - 23 Years
30 - 48 Inches

Quick Links for Corn Snake

Corn Snake

Corn Snake Description

Corn Snake Appearance

This snake is orange or red with distinct reddish to chestnut blotches surrounded by black borders. They also have a black and white checkerboard pattern on their belly.

Juveniles will have the same pattern as the adults, but the blotches will be lighter with almost a chocolate brown color.


This snake is normally between 30 to 48 inches long, however, the record length for this snake is about 72 inches. The record found in Virginia is 56.7 inches.

Juveniles tend to be 10 to 12 inches long.

Corn Snake in Hand

The checkerboard pattern of the belly is not consistent, and does not 100% resemble a checkerboard

Corn Snake Behavior

These snakes are nocturnal and are active at night. Usually you can find these snakes on the ground and alone as these are solitary creatures.

During the winter they brumate, and you can find them in closed spaces such as rock crevices and under logs.

These snakes are not aggressive and do not bite when handled.

It is illegal in Virginia to keep Wild Snakes as pets

Range and Habitat of The Corn Snake


These are common in central Virginia, but can be found in the Alexandria area, and rarely near the North Carolina border. Strangely enough, there are none in Northern North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, yet they are everywhere in New Jersey and Delaware. They can be found all across the American South. Some have shown up in California, Japan, and the UK.


Their habitat consists of overgrown fields, forests, forest edges, and rocky hillsides. They can also be found in barns, and other areas where food supply such as rodents are present.

Corn Snake Map Range

Central Virginia has a pocket of these snakes as there are none north of DC and Baltimore and the Virginia and North Carolina border.


Their diet consists of small rodents, reptiles, and amphibians. They also like to eat unguarded bird eggs, and will not grab them if they have to fight. While there are rumors that these snakes will cannibalize other Cornsnakes, these have only been observed in captive conditions.

Reproduction and Young


Mating for these snakes occur in March to May, where the female will lay eggs in late May or July.

Eggs and Young

After laying in areas such as rotten stumps, the female will leave as they do not care for their eggs. There will generally be a clutch of 7 to 20 eggs.
Juveniles will have a chocolate color to their blotches and a light brown body. They are typically 9 to 13 inches long when born.
Corn Snake

Juveniles are a noticeably lighter color when compared to adults.

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