Squamata

Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)


Family Colubridae

Red Cornsnake

Common Name:

Red Cornsnake


Scientific Name:

Pantherophis guttatus

Photo of Adult Red Cornsnake courtesy of Linh Phu
Photo of Adult Red Cornsnake courtesy of Linh Phu


Size:
30 - 48 inches. Record - 72 inches.

Appearance:
  • An orange or gray back with red or orangish-red rectangular blotches bordered in black.
  • The orange area between blotches looks like a circle with open sides.
  • The first reddish blotch on the neck is a “U” or “V” with the “spear point” between the eyes.
  • The belly has an irregular black and white checkerboard pattern with black and white striping on the underside of the tail.
  • Scales are weakly keeled.
  • Body shaped like a bread loaf in cross section, flat on the bottom.

Illustration of Red Cornsnake's dorsum patterning

Photo showing detail on head of Red Cornsnake - courtesy of Luke Roberson
Photo showing detail on
head of Red Cornsnake
courtesy of Luke Roberson


Habitats:

Hardwood forests and pine-dominated agricultural and urban areas, and fields and open grassy areas next to woods.

Photo of Habitat for Red Corn Snake courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
Photo of Habitat for Red Corn Snake courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers


How to Find:

An uncommon to rare secretive species that is seldom seen. Look for them primarily during the summer in open dry pine and hardwood forests with loose soils, as they primarily live underground, though they do spend some time in trees. Look under coarse woody debris or drive sandy woods roads slowly at dusk through appropriate habitat. They are not aggressive when handled and seldom bite. Non-venomous.


Distribution in Maryland:

Primarily found on the Coastal Plain but there are few records for the Ridge and Valley region of Washington and Allegany Counties.​

Red Cornsnake - Distribution in Maryland